Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Gareth's stocking for me. I'm a lucky girl!
(without the tea, because I was already drinking it!)
So finally it's Christmas day. I've had my annual stress about cooking Christmas dinner ("we can't cook roast potatoes in half an hour" I wailed to my fiancĂ©, after arriving home a little late and a little tipsy from visiting the in-laws.) - although this was far less traumatic than last year when I managed to throw an entire canister of salt in to the gravy I'd spent ages making from the turkey entrails and slow cooked onions.

Anyway - Merry Christmas to you all! I hope you've all got past the rush of the presents (and the breakfast of Buck's Fizz..), the grumpiness of standing in the boiling kitchen wondering why something just won't boil, and the traditional arguments and are now sitting in a warm fug in front of the telly contemplating why anybody needs dessert after that massive meal (yet knowing it's compulsory for good reason - it's bloody lovely.)

This year has made me more set in my desire to have children early. An adult Christmas full of booze and relaxation is glorious, but lacks magic. I see photos all over Facebook and twitter of rooms filled from Santa's sack and the faces of nieces and nephews beaming. I can't wait for that in our house. However the few solely adult years are great in their own ways - it's been great fun to do the stocking challenge we set for ourselves, and treat ourselves to more generous gifts than we normally would choose to.

My stocking for Gareth.

Here are the results of our stocking challenge (the names are the person that gave the present):

Something for £1 or under:
Aimee: a "hit die" (a di(c)e with different body parts on it) and various massage tokens.
Gareth: a miniature wheelie bin (because I constantly moan about the fact the council owes us two bins.)

Something shiny:

Aimee: a pack of cards covered in gold foil.
Gareth: A welsh dragon keyring, a badge with English and Welsh flags (seeing as I am now half-Welsh apparently) and some lovely glittery nail polishes.

You want but is disguised as a gift for other person:
Aimee: massage oils
Gareth: The Matrix Blu-Ray box set

That reminds me of you:
Aimee: a toy frog with long legs (an in-joke)
Gareth: a book of WW1 poetry (my favourite literary period)

To keep:
Aimee: a notebook with photos of family, friends and events from the past year cut out and pasted all over it.
Gareth: a certificate saying he is mine forever. (This is a useful confirmation prior to getting married!)

Second Hand:
Aimee: The Eternity Clock PS3 Game
Gareth: a cuddly toy bear with an awesome hat.

Aimee: white chocolate fudge covered pretzels
Gareth: tea leaves, a tea diffuser and a posh tea cup.

To do together:
Aimee: Gormenghast: the board game.
Gareth: Doctor Who puzzle.

You hate:
Aimee: A magnet saying "Keep Calm Cameron's in Charge!!!" 
Gareth: Thorntons chocolates (which I think taste really plastic-y), a Justin Bieber calendar and One Direction tissues. (Yes, I think he went a little overboard on this category.)

Aimee: a Dominion Board (for the board game Dominion)
Gareth: a little book of Cocktail tips (epic!)

All in all I really enjoyed buying presents from a list, and if it's interested you then I recommend trying it next year. It curbed my habit of impulse-buying everything cool I see, and it meant I paid more attention to what I did get. It also meant I could spend more money on his main present (a Last Exit to Nowhere hoodie and loads of cool geeky t-shirts) - which I think is much nicer than loads of random tat.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Road Safety

I've just had a rather unnerving experience, proving to me just how indestructible humans believe they are. It's 6am, pitch black, a little icy on the roads and I'm driving home after giving my fiance a lift into work. I'm only driving at 20mph (our house is only a few minutes away, I'm in no hurry - getting home means I have to start getting ready for work), although the speed limit of the road is 30mph and cars often drive it much faster, into the 40's when it's quiet. I turn a corner and nearly scream, a woman is only a few feet from my car jogging merrily in the road. I slow down, she smiles and hops on to the pavement. Yes, the pavement.

As much as I applaud anybody who goes for a run at 6am in the complete dark and freezing cold please, please employ some road sense: wear high visibility; black running clothes, like this woman was wearing, mean you do not stand out. And if there is a safe place for you to run (like the pavement for example..) please use it, rather than presuming that you won't see cars because it's a quiet time of day or you will have time to act if one does come screaming past. If I hadn't been driving slowly, then potentially today could have been a far scarier experience. I admit, I am possibly over-reacting but I'm sitting here with all the "what could have been"s running through my head, and it makes me so anxious.

Please take care of yourselves. Take a few extra seconds to think about what you are doing and improve your safety.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Awesome Little Shops

I love an "Awesome Little Shop", they break the monotony of the dull repetition of Poundland, Top Shop, Tesco Express, Primark, Greggs etc and they're generally where you find actually cool stuff rather than the usual junk. I'm very fortunate to live a forty minute drive from Cardiff, which is exceptionally good at giving these shops a home. The arcades contain utter diamonds, and I thought I'd share with you a few of my favourites.

3 Castle Street (Opposite Cardiff Castle.)

This is my favourite cafe in Cardiff. The coffee is delicious, the staff are very friendly (and remember you!) and everything is freshly done on the premises. I remember arriving slightly earlier than they opened one day and not only did they invite me in for a coffee, but the lass was making the scones to bake today. There's no better confirmation that everything is freshly made on the premises! They also have a nice loyalty card where you get a free coffee and cake after 9 purchases. Seriously dump Starbucks, come here.

Rules of Play
29, Castle Arcade

Okay, a small disclaimer - I'm very fortunate to now have a job here, but I have been a customer for a long time prior to this. As you may be aware, aside from Doctor Who my spare time is pretty much taken up with board-gaming and crafting. And this is certainly the place for finding board games. I remember driving home from Chichester one day, a four hour drive, with my boyfriend pleading for us to stop in Cardiff on the way back so he could purchase a game from there. That's the kind of customer commitment they inspire. I am very proud to work where I do. Board gaming is a fantastic hobby to get into, so if you ever fancy a change up from the annual Christmas game of Monopoly do pop in and have a browse!

Wally's Delicatessen
38-46, Royal Arcade

Wally's is one of those dangerous places to browse for anybody with tastebuds and a wallet in their pocket. A family run business that specialises in food from around the world. They have an amazing selection of goods, including the best Lebkuchen ever (some of my favourite treats), a massive olive bar, Belgian chocolates, different spices, wines, continental breads, meats, cheeses, an American foods section, sections for people with lactose intolerance or looking for low sugar options.

Hatt's Emporium
Unit 14, Cardiff Central Market

My boyfriend is a big lover of vintage coats and hats, so when I came across Hatt's while I was wandering around Cardiff Market before I started work, I was delighted. They have a great selection of waistcoats, coats, hats, cufflinks and all kinds of awesome fashion paraphernalia. They always have new stock in, and were a great help when I was looking for something in particular and gave me dates that they would have it by.

The Pen and Paper
13-17, Royal Arcade

In Chichester I used to love a ship called Sussex Stationers; now I've moved and The Pen and Paper has fulfilled my lust for different coloured bits of paper and foam, pens, sketchbooks, ink, pencils and pens and all the different oddments I love cluttering up my house with in the hope that I may sit down and actually make some cards. They've got masses of stock (and loads of knickknacks, which keep calling my name as stocking fillers every time I go in there..)

Anyway, that's a quick round up for now. I'll try and do a few more in this style over the next few months. Enjoy roaming around Cardiff!

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Customer Service

Customer service is one of the things I can get really grumpy about. It's so easy to get it right and yet so many places you get poor advice, lack of initiative, and the complete inability to help you in a timely manner. I've been "fortunate" enough to be subject to various levels of customer service of late, so figured it was worth highlighting my experience.

The Body Shop:
I'm a sale whore, I freely admit that, and I love the items The Body Shop produces (the scent of Vineyard Peach, the aloe lip balm that is actually made out of fairy dust and cures chafing instantly..) and they have wonderful ethics. So when they held a 50% sale I was right there, because you just can't pass up that kind of awesomeness. And because sometimes I'm remarkably restrained I bought a lot of presents for people (okay mostly for Christmas even though this was September, I run Christmas like it was a military organisation.) and then they arrived like this:

Basically The Body Shop have removed cellophane from all of their products in order to become more environmentally friendly, and in concept I think this is great. Unfortunately when you buy a pre-packaged present and one of the items has opened and spilt all over the box and other items, it's a bit rubbish.

And then it takes a month to get it resolved because they only reply to an email every two weeks, even though the actual correspondence is generally quite reasonable. And they delete your review of the item when you mention how it arrived, even if the rest of your review was pretty pleasant considering how bummed out you were that the item you had ordered was out of stock and the present you had was no longer in presentable condition.

A massive shout out to their twitter feed, @TheBodyShopUK, however and Katrina in particular. Once I spoke to them a resolution was found much more quickly and with a greater amount of pleasantness.

Tits, knockers, nunga-nungas, boobs, fun bags, breasts. I have them and they're frustratingly gigantic. This is not a good thing. It means they're always in the way, seat belts are a pain (literally), they're so heavy that when I'm feeling ill I have to hold them off my chest when I'm lying down to stop me feeling nauseous, they will knock you (or somebody else) out if you jump or swing around quickly, and obviously you cannot get pretty lingerie. It's M&S horrible granny bras. That's just not nice. 

Frankly I was pissed off with them. To the extent I went to get measured, something I haven't done since I was 12 (yes not only did they grow, they grew early too. Sods.) Obviously I'd heard the many horror stories of being measured at M&S, so I decided to risk Bravissimo where I'd never shopped before due to the expense (and finding it in St David's Arcade, I still can't find my way around that place..) 

And they were lovely. I was fitted by a wonderful lady called Jenny, who could not have been more helpful. She looked at me and told me what I was already aware of - that my bra was gaping (the central part wasn't flush against my chest) and the cups were too small. After trying on many bras (never using a tape measure, bras generally fit completely differently depending on style) I went down one band size, and up three cup sizes to a 34J/JJ. I walked away with three bras.

And then, less than a month later - disaster! A wire had broken the fabric of the bra and was poking out. I immediately searched for my receipt, but unfortunately I'd cleared my purse out a few days before and no longer had it. So I was very nervous about heading in to talk to them about it. Luckily they could not have been nicer - there wasn't even a suggestion they wouldn't help, they immediately looked me up by email address and checked their stock list. They didn't have the replacement in store so they arranged free delivery. The new bra arrived a few days later. I was so delighted to have some exemplary customer service where I wasn't made to feel like I was in the wrong.

So some news. I'm getting married. Not for a while yet, I imagine, funds being what they are, but my lovely boyfriend has decided that he plans to propose and wanted to find out what ring I liked. (We're quite relaxed, there was no massive surprise proposal) So I attacked the internet with the force of a woman unleashed and eventually found a ring I loved. Adored. We then visited the local store to have my finger measured so that he ordered the correct size. I was told multiple times it was best to have it a bit tight so that it didn't slip off, during this fitting.

Finger red, despite wearing it for over half hour,
much bulging :(
He ordered it, it was delivered to the store and we went in to collect it. It didn't fit, not even close. I was quietly devastated. They offered me a free resize and again heavily pushed the fact I needed it tight - "If it was me I would definitely go for the smaller size." was said multiple times, amongst other similar influential assertions. They told me it had to be forced over the knuckle to ensure it wouldn't fall off, even though my fingers widen after the knuckle so something tight going over it would never fit any further down. I was told not to worry - when my fingers were cold there wouldn't be any bulging, even though I tried to point out that my hands were cold now (and are pretty much always cold due to my poor circulation.) Still, I ordered it against my better judgement. I'm a push over, nervous of authority and presume they must know best - they do this for a living and I know fuck all about wearing jewellery, especially important jewellery. This is something I regret.

So I waited, and finally had the call that it had arrived back in store. I went it to collect it by myself, as Gareth was working. It still didn't fit. I was shocked, and pretty close to breaking into floods in the shop. This was meant to be happy, why was it being so hard? I was then told that a resize would cost me £50. £50 on a ring you've already sized my finger for twice, and yet you agree with me that it doesn't fit?! I took it away, I didn't know what to do. When Gareth was home we had a chat and I cried a bit, and wrote a stroppy email to customer services. They got back to me and told me that I could have one more free resize. So I went in again, was resized again, the ring size went up again (so in total I was up two sizes from the initial sizing.) I'm still waiting to see if it will fit this time.

I agree a lot of this was my fault for being a bit of a doormat, but I found the pushy service very intimidating and it has really spoiled a very important occasion in my life.

Gareth, if you are curious, is clutching desperately to the awesomeness of being young and is having this as his engagement ring:

Friday, 11 October 2013

Christmas Stocking Challenge

This year my boyfriend and I have given each other a Christmas stocking challenge. There are ten topics and we have to buy an inexpensive item for each of them.

They are, something...

..for £1 or under.
..shiny. want but is disguised as a present for the other person.
..that reminds me of you. keep.
..second hand.
..edible. do together. hate.

I'll blog after Christmas to let you know how we get on!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Mexican Lasagne and Relationships

Quite possibly my favourite ever blog post by Esther Walker on Recipe Rifle is 'Nigella's Mexican Lasagne.' If you've never read it then I really advise you do, because it's something I often look back on when I'm in an (unvoiced) mood with my boyfriend and the recipe is really very nice.

The gist of the blog is that a relationship is a balancing act; that both parties do really irritating things and really nice, lovely things. So when things get out of control, or something particularly irritates you can look back on your list and re-balance your feelings.

So here's my list.

Some annoying things my boyfriend does:
- He will randomly, after a room being in the same state it has been in for days, massively freak out and declare it impossibly messy to the point he cannot even be in the room and start striding around the house banging doors and things. He does not, however, tidy it up.
- Bite his nails to the point that he does not actually have nails, just messy finger stubs. And then borrow my nails for everything (taking a sticker off something, scratching, picking a penny off the floor etc.) Sometimes without asking.
- Ask for a foot massage constantly but refuse for me to clip his toe nails.

Here are some annoying things I do:
- Fail to listen to what he's saying properly and making up the end of his sentence in my head, and then arguing a completely different point to the one he is trying to make.
- Cry constantly over everything. Sad things, happy things, nothing at all.
- Throw up whenever there is something mouldy or gone off (or potentially gone off food, I once threw up because a bag was squidgy. When Gareth later investigated it was actually a sock.) and refuse point blank to have anything to do with it.
- Sexual innuendo. Constantly.

Here are some lovely things he does:
- Clears out the vegetable drawer, and the fridge and particularly disgusting pans so I don't have to. (See my third annoying point.)
- Makes all the horrible telephone calls (e.g. to Sky, to the council.) and is brilliant at them.
- Puts up with me snoring all night, especially when I'm drunk.
- Tells me point blank we're not going shopping or to the cinema or something else I'm trying to persuade myself to do despite feeling like shit, because he can see I'm feeling rubbish.
- Doesn't nag about my general lack of job/money.

Here are some lovely things I do:
- I will give him a massage pretty much whenever he asks, which is often.
- Remember birthdays and plan presents and cards.
- I always make sure there is loo roll and towels in the bathroom.
- Ensure all the bills are paid, and budget all the money so we don't run out towards the end of the month.
- Drive him to work and pick him up when it's obscenely early in the morning (6am) or pitch black or raining.

So that's my list. Do you have one?

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

#dwsr - Lydstep Flats, Christmas filming!

The Tardis is assembled!
The flats receive a quick festive makeover.
Normally you get the tiniest bit of culture shock when you see Doctor Who's massive Christmas tree or robot Santas lurking around Cardiff in the middle of summer. I'm now so used to this that it was weird watching filming for the Christmas 2013 episode of Doctor Who when mince pies are in the shops (seriously they are, I've just been to the Co-op.) Christmas trees and a blow-up Father Christmas on the balconies of flats? My friend on Facebook is complaining her neighbour already has her outdoor fairy lights up. Doctor Who, this filming lark is just getting too believable.

Matt, his chair, and a turkey.
So yes, they started late this year. Yes we say that every year, but it does seem that they have left it a bit last minute - especially considering they've had a lot of spare time to film it in. And yes, Matt Smith is wearing a wig. It's a pretty good wig, and I can't really tell the difference, although I was watching from a distance and wasn't there when he came over to do autographs (I had to drive back urgently as my car was booked in for an MOT.) We also missed photos with Jenna. Ah well.

Jenna looks out of the
We left the house at 7.15 am and arrived in Cardiff at about 8.30 am. Rush hour is a real trial, especially when you have to make a detour to get some petrol. When we arrived they had been setting up for some time, and we caught up on the details from the lovely @StreetwiseLee. She told us they'd set the Tardis up and taken it down again, and seemed to be doing something with a red band of material - trying to make it fly while the Tardis de/materialised. There was a lovely crowd of fans out that day; it really makes watching filming that bit more memorable and exciting when everybody is so animated. @ryantfarr also arrived, so the morning shift was complete.

Clara's hat flies off!
They soon rebuilt the Tardis and Jenna (Louise) Coleman was driven up. She stayed in the car for such a long time we thought they'd only been driving crew from the base to the location in it and had ceased to pay attention. The first scene they filmed was Clara running from the direction of the flats to the Tardis and knocking of the door. She's wearing a green hat from a Christmas cracker, and as she runs it flies off her head. They filmed it on the perfect day for this as it was very windy and Jenna was constantly trying to keep the hat on.

Matt and Jenna reunited.
Then Matt Smith arrived. As soon as he climbed out of the car he gave Jenna a big hug and they walked arm in arm towards the crew. Matt proceeded to give several people hugs, which made me wonder if this was the first day he was seeing a lot of the crew as there was far more of a meet-and-greet than normal. The first scene he filmed with Jenna was them leaving the Tardis and heading towards the flats, dialogue was hard to hear due to the distance and the wind but The Doctor appeared to be berating Clara for disliking Christmas.
DOCTOR: You don't like Christmas? Maybe you've not been reading the jokes in the crackers. They're amazing!
The Doctor then holds his arms out wide and they give each other a cutesy hug. It was a very sweet scene.

To the Tardis!
The final scene we saw filmed was Clara bringing an uncooked turkey from the direction of the flats and taking it to the Tardis with the Doctor following along behind. They were obviously trying to make the turkey seem very heavy and for Clara to be struggling to carry it slightly as Matt Smith kept helping her hoik it higher up her body. Again dialogue was difficult to hear,

DOCTOR: You can't keep using the Tardis like this!

Chatting between takes.
After this they broke for lunch and that was our cue to rush back. It was a great day and it was lovely to see Matt before he leaves Cardiff for good. I was disappointed to not be able to get autographs/pictures because despite doing this regularly it's very rare for us to get these and I'd treasure it considering how much of my spare time I devote to following filming around Cardiff. I'm a little scared that there may be very little location filming for this episode, but hopefully we'll see them again!


Friday, 6 September 2013

Detritus of an Unorganised Life

This was originally the bag of wires we brought from the flat when we moved. 

Contents: various mobile phone charging wires, one mobile phone (working, missing charger), three packs of playing cards, one colour printer cartridge, Now 62, three juggling balls, 12 six-sided dice in box, four 20-sided dice in a bag, one set of role playing dice in cloth bag, one pregnancy test, one light up thumb, one magnetic coin vanisher, one webcam, one usb plug, two Sherlock Holmes Museum business cards, one rubber, one lidless pen, one card reader. 

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Sunday Silence

LearnerMother, a blogger I really enjoy reading, often posts a "Silent Sunday" blog post. There are no words, just a picture. It's a beautiful concept that a lot of blogs seem to follow and whilst I suspect I won't be start doing it here on She-Goat, I was reminded of it when I started thinking about writing this post and thought it would be appropriate to mention given what I wish to write about.

My boyfriend is a great fan of Barnum Statements, and is generally very interested in cold reading and how people use it (be they psychics or Derren Brown.) These statements are things that sound very personal but actually apply to everyone. I think one example would be: I can often be a chatty person but sometimes I just need time to reflect and be by myself.

Allowing myself time to reflect is one of the most crucial solutions for keeping me feeling sane despite my long battle with depression. My boyfriend and I live (mentally) in different time zones - I'm early to rise and early to bed and he's the opposite. This gives both of us a few hours either at the start or end of the day to settle (we spend the rest of time together as we're both struggling with unemployment.) Don't get me wrong, I adore my boyfriend and selfishly dread when he goes back to work because I'm loving the amount of time we get to spend together but I love these few hours. I've always been a lover of silence (an only child with only my widowed working mother in the house) and delighted in it; noise flusters me and I get more on edge the longer a busy day goes on. These few hours offers me a reset button.

This causes problems occasionally. If I have a few days without that reset button getting pressed (we've had an early start to the day, visitors have come round, or I'm desperately busy trying to organise something mundane like our new house getting a bin delivered.) then slowly my depression wins, and I get more manic with stronger highs and stronger lows and the brain-crunching stupid paranoia sets in (my boyfriend snaps when I forget he's got a headache and put something noisy on, does he hate me? And other ridiculous questions.) and then the anxiety hits and everything is worth crying about and my nails are somehow all chewed even though I don't remember doing it and when did I start rocking?

But a few hours of silence and suddenly the world goes back to being beautiful. I can be antisocial to a fault and I really don't give a shit.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Bad Days

[I doubt this even makes sense. I just needed to rant. I believe everyone has a rant in them pretty much all the time and generally we just keep quiet, because that's what's nice and polite. I'm not feeling very nice or very polite right now.]

For the last week I've slowly felt worse and worse. That's not uncommon for me - especially during sunny weather and stress - but obviously doesn't feel very nice. The idea that if it continues you'll end up waking up with your legs not working and throwing up everywhere is a bit haunting.

Today just made an awkward week worse. My partner and I had made the executive decision a few weeks back that we couldn't afford to go on the BBC Doctor Who Experience Tardis Tours of the actual m*****f****** Tardis set because we'd just bought a house and frankly things are horribly tight at the moment. We were aware they would be, it's just the living through that's the boring, frustrating bit. This is slowly creeping closer and as all our friends gradually visit the set and arrange get togethers to visit it, it's become a bit of a ghoul. That's tough, and whilst making us both feel a bit grumpy and sorry for ourselves we both accept that's how it had to be. We don't have a spare fifty quid to spend on non-essentials, especially when..

..your mother breaks your awesome shower. The really expensive walk in one that came with the house you bought. So your partner can't use it because he's too tall to use the mocked up system we've created. And then you find out it's so awesome that it's incredibly non-standard and thus you can't find replacement bits for it and you start panicking you're going to have pull the whole wall down to sort it out and that's going to cost A LOT. And then you argue over that because you still haven't got any money.

And you start wondering if the house will ever be sorted. Can you afford that shed that your mother keeps nagging you that you need (and you kind of accept you do need it because your windowsills are full of weedkiller and fertiliser and random helpful gardening presents and you can't collect the lawnmower because you've nowhere to put it), when are you going to get your hands on a man and a van to collect the furniture you've been promised - should you just hire one and spend even more money?

And why can't you get a job? If you had a job then you might have some money and things might be easier. And then you go into a gloom remembering how your illness killed your education dead and now you need another A Level before you can go to university and like you can afford either of those and who is going to employ you when you still doubt you can actually walk well and have absolutely no work history (bar that random time you decided you could speak German enough to work in an art museum in Germany for a fortnight, and that was ages ago.)

And then you have a cry and tell yourself everything is actually fine, that'll you'll unpack all the boxes (currently filling two rooms), and get on top of the laundry, and make sure the kitchen is clean and all the dishes are done because your lovely dishwasher that was a really kind present is actually quite small and we're quite messy cooks so dishes pile up.. That your partner is brilliant and loves you and helps and does so much and you get a hug and a kiss and everything improves. And once the house is tidy your friends, relatives (preferably those that don't break things, but even the other ones can come back provided they're supervised.. That is a joke, I swear.) can come over and we'll have a drink with those bottles of Aldi alcohol you bought a month ago and everything will be lovely.

But then that buggers up because the world is a confused and disorganised place and everybody has their own schedules to keep to and you wonder whether you've bought the house in the wrong place because you feel so cut off from everything even though you're only a thirty minute drive away (Oh fuck the car. The money devouring beast whose engine light is on and needs an MOT this fortnight. And you've only been driving a year so your insurance is £600 and where are you going to pull that from? And who wants to drive it anyway when it eats £80 worth of petrol a month without you even going anywhere as far as you can tell, and you're still terrified of driving it and still assume every time you hear police sirens that they're going to be pulling you over, because clearly you must be doing something wrong even though you don't know what, because whoever decided it was legal for you to drive must have been an absolute idiot.) And then you try to remember how horrible it was living in a one bedroom flat to persuade yourself it was good you didn't buy a maisonette in Cardiff but by now your sad and any more remembering just makes you sadder.

So no more remembering today, no more crying or brooding or shouting at my partner just because he's in the wrong place at the wrong time. Some telly, an early night and a cwtch. Then come back to same old thing tomorrow. Maybe it will be better, maybe it'll be worse. I'll get through it whatever. That's all I need to know.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Phone Calls with My Mother

I ring my mother twice a day by arrangement to make sure she's okay as she's unwell. This is typically how it goes.

1. Ring mother. She doesn't answer.
2. Wait twenty minutes then try again. Still no answer.
3. Maybe she's still asleep. Wait ten minutes. Ring again. Still no answer.
3. Debate calling neighbour/relative to break into house because she's clearly nearly dead.
4. Ring one last time. She answers the phone!
5. "Is that Aimee?" "Yes, are you okay?"
6. "I haven't put my hearing aids in, I don't know what you're saying."
7. "Are you okay? I've been ringing you for ages."
8. "I'm sorry, I can't hear you. Glad you're okay. Love you, bye!"

This happens twice a day.

Like all mothers, she drives me absolutely barmy but I love her dearly.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

#Setlock - Giovanni's Restaurant

#Setlock crowds never disappoint! #dwsr needs to get its act in gear!

Restaurant owner and local
legend: Giovanni!
Gosh it's been a while, hasn't it? I'm really excited at the moment - Sherlock is filming and Doctor Who should be starting soon. Plus life is generally going well, my boyfriend and I have just moved (though not unpacked..) and I'm feeling healthier than I often do when it's this sunny.

Anyway. My boyfriend, an awesome friend and I heard the rumours that Sherlock was filming in Cardiff yesterday. So we headed down. We're a bit out of practice -forgot to get a parking ticket for the car and had to rush back, both cameras' batteries were only half charged (luckily one runs on AAs so that wasn't quite so stressful in central Cardiff!), and we arrived at lunchtime (for the cast and crew - so there was nothing to see.)

The Moff was busy on
the phone. Organising a
certain surprise Confidential,
We completely missed the filming around the Museum/University but camped out along the Hayes (the large shopping street where we knew they'd be filming, even if we erroneously thought they were going to be at Iguanas Bar. They told me they were opening at 12pm though, so we soon worked out that shout was incorrect.) - A couple of bottles of Coca Cola and some Kit Kats later and we finally saw the first van drive up. It delivered some metal barriers and then drove off again. Not very thrilling but it at least gave us a clue there might be something to see (they wouldn't need them if they were only filming inside.)

Rain: inevitable when filming in South Wales. Even if it's hardly noticeable drizzle.
Sue Vertue and Mark Gatiss
Slowly fans (okay: fangirls) and crew members gathered. I was glad to have our bench right at the front, it became obvious a lot of people were interested in seeing filming! It was clear Giovanni's Restaurant was the location and the crew started to set up all the equipment - a blue gazebo went up (at times inside out..), cameras were brought out from vans and taken inside, the all-important table of sustaining tea and coffee was erected in the church yard where they were parking the vans. Then a car pulled up and out strolled Sue Vertue (principally the awesome producer that makes things happen and smiles at us occasionally, but also cool for being The Moff's missus.) and Mark Gatiss (with his dyed hair.) They seemed happy and were amiable as they walked into the building. Mark Gatiss was soon hanging around outside chatting with the crew, while Sue Vertue flitted around everywhere - the Queen Bee making sure the hive is functioning perfectly.

The lovely Lars.
Then more cool stuff happened: one of the black cars (the ones that everybody starts pointing at as soon as they appear - they're used to transport the stars of the show and important crew.) drove up. Out stepped Lars Mikkelsen - looking as dapper as a politician heading to court. It was very exciting to see the new baddie (my boyfriend was excited due to adoring him in The Killing, but I must confess I've never watched it.) We snapped our pictures, giggled excitedly and were in general very happy - we didn't realise we'd get to see him regularly for the next four hours!

Swishy tie!
Curiously we watched a crew member set up and take in a hospital IV drip. You can see it in the video I've put below (a collection of all the - pretty rubbish - clips I took during the day.) My personal theory is that Sherlock has just wandered out of hospital, with drip, because he's determined to meet Charles Augustus Magnussen (Lars Mikkelsen) Why he's in there in the first place? I've no idea, but he was the only principal character inside the restaurant other than Magnussen and as we saw them film Magnussen enter Giovanni's and obviously it wasn't attached to him.

Benedict arrives on set.
Benedict Cumberbatch soon arrived - complete with awesome sunglasses. He only had time to dash inside, with a quick wave to the crowd, but it was lovely to see him out filming in Cardiff again. And then filming began! It appeared to be a very short scene - shot from the inside with the camera focusing on the door (they moved the crowds so they'd be clear of the shot) - they filmed Charles Augustus Magnussen opening the door, entering the restaurant, closing the door behind him, and then presumably going inside (for a discussion with Sherlock?) Obviously we were unable to hear/see anything that happened inside! Lars Mikkelsen seemed to move smoothly, almost cat-like, and with his suave looks and cheekbones to rival Cumberbatch's, a silkily-spoken, scary baddie seems like a likely bet to me.

Sherlock's coat being delivered to the set.

Waves goodbye!
At half seven (the time the restaurant was meant to be re-opening to the customers!) they finally wrapped and we got to quickly see Benedict Cumberbatch leave and drive off down The Hayes. It was a really fun day, and with dry weather and only six hours of standing agog is was nice way to ease ourselves back into set-reporting.

And he's gone.
Gets in to the car.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Hospital Inefficiency

When I started this blog it was just a place to express myself, get the odd thought and sadness off my chest. I haven't felt the need to post anything for a while but yesterday was a bit frustrating for me.

I had an appointment at 5.15 at a local hospital for a pre-assessment for some very minor invasive surgical checks. We arrived quite early, which was lucky as they lock the doors to the assessment unit at 5pm, and the receptionists leave at the same time. We hadn't had a letter for the appointment (it's all been arranged somewhat last minute.) so we hadn't been informed we'd need to get there early in order to get in.

We were told there was a bit of a wait (which was fine, I expect hospitals to have delays. I'm used it it; I bring my kindle.) and then most of the staff shipped off for the night. It's somewhat disconcerting waiting for an appointment while the doors are locked and the cleaner's come in and wiping everything down for the next day but again it's not out of the ordinary (I can remember waiting in a similar situation where they actually turned the lights off in the area I was waiting. It was quite spooky.)

After an hour's wait (with staff coming out and alternatively asking who I was, why I was there, was I sure I had an appointment, and then that it would only be five minutes longer.) I was finally invited in to be seen. I was in an okay mood, a little down and frustrated because I was missing my boyfriend (Perhaps a bit pathetic, but we're in a situation where we're together 24 hours a day at the moment so any absence is a bit weird.) and frustrated that I was missing loads of cool filming stuff in Cardiff.

We then went through the preassessment, which was where my patience began to fail a little bit. The nurse I was speaking to soon realised my medical care was awkward and kept saying that we were going to have problems because all the doctors (who she needed to advise her) had left for the day and really I should have been given an appointment earlier in the day. I can't do much about that, unfortunately. Eventually we decided she better hold my notes back and speak to a doctor in the morning. She couldn't give me a provisional appointment for the surgical checks because the reception system was offline because it had already been turned off the day. So that appointment had been a waste of both mine and her time, basically.

We've just had the phone call. The gist of it was the doctor isn't sure so we had better go back to the consultant and discuss it with him. Probably towards the end of May. All of this for what was originally an emergency appointment for February. Sadly this is quite the norm.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

TV vs Set Reports: The Snowmen

So here's the first of a series of posts that I will try to do over the next couple of weeks. People moan about how spoiler-y set reports are and how there's 'barely any point watching the episode after reading them.' I have a grumpy habit, and that's disputing that point of view. Yes, set reports are spoiler-y, but they've never ruined an episode for me and I've seen quite a lot of filming, now! So I like to contrast what we saw where we found filming and how the episode turned out. You might have guessed by now that it's surprisingly little, even for the episodes we saw a lot (for instance this episode, 'The Snowmen', and 'The Crimson Horror') Plus to balance it out we didn't see any filming for either 'The Rings of Akhaten' or 'Cold War' as they were mainly filmed in the studio.

Anyway, too much waffle. Onwards!

All stills are copyright to the BBC. All set report photos were taken by my boyfriend, @gabundy.

This was filmed at Treowen Manor, Monmouth. We visited the
location whilst they were filming but the grounds were closed. We're
stood outside somewhere, encountering sheep bones in the path.
Obviously we didn't see anything.
Bristol, Corn Street:

We watched them filming in this alley way. It was so packed that you
couldn't see anything. We did make out a little bit of dialogue. "Take
her back where you found her
." "Not my problem. Merry Christmas."

Picture from set.

When they set up we had fake snow falling all over us. It was
very pretty. They originally filmed it so that Clara chased after the
carriage and fell over. All of this was cut in post production and
Clara hanging upside down in the carriage was added.

Picture from the set. Clara's stunt double was used
for running after the carriage.

Picture from the set.

Picture from the set.

Picture from the set.
Fields House, Newport:

I remember us standing outside Fields House with a few other fans
being highly unconvinced that the maid was Liz White while others
were arguing passionately that she was. Of course they were right
(my celeb spotting skills are rubbish. Not handy for this hobby.)

Picture from the set.
Bristol, Corn Street:

I believe this is when we heard the dialogue. They filmed this after
they filmed the Clara parts of the scenes in the alley way.
Bristol, Portland Square:
Blog: Snow strikes Bristol in August!

This was an amazing day of filming. Freezing cold, went on late into
the night but so good to watch. It was filmed in a park (recently
used for Sherlock filming, as well) with fences all around it, so fans
just stood the whole way around and openly gawped.

Picture from the set. It looked
much prettier once all the
scaffolding had been removed in
the edit.

Picture from the set.

Picture from the set.

Picture from the set.

Picture from the set.

This was filmed before the scenes where Clara is in the red dress, so
 they could use the daylight. The director wasn't happy with this scene
 and made them do a lot of times until the point you could see they
were becoming uneasy about dusk settling in.

Picture from the set.

Picture from the set.

 We overheard this dialogue:
(She jumps, trying to grab something.)
Jenny enters the scene. (Director's cue: Catrin!)
JENNY: What are you doing?!
Clara turns around to face Jenny.
CLARA: I'm looking for the Doctor. Do you know about him? 
JENNY: Doctor Who?

Picture from the set.
Fields House, Newport:

Obviously this filming was interiors so we didn't see any filming,
hear any dialogue etc. We did however get to see the actors
arrive at and leave the set, which was cool.

Cathays Cemetery, Cardiff
Blog: Cathays Cemetery

I felt really sorry for (the gorgeous) Tom Ward. He only had a very
tiny moment in this scene so did an awful amount of hanging around
(I still haven't got used to seeing celebrities/very gorgeous men
hanging around close to me [oh, sorry, obviously other than my
boyfriend..!] and was far too nervous to ask for an autograph.) 

Tom Ward.

We wondered if this girl was important for a long time. It was the
only time we saw her, but one of the few times we'd seen someone
be pally with Clara. She wasn't.

Jenna tried on loads of different outfits for this tiny moment. Pictures
on the original blog post.

And that's it! For an episode that it seemed like we saw an awful amount of filming for we didn't see an awful lot. We never saw Richard E Grant, I never saw the Snowmen (friends did, I was away typically.) so we knew nothing about the main threat of the episode. We did see "GI" on the carriage, but didn't realise it meant "Great Intelligence." And yet the glimpses we did get, the scenes we heard and saw acted out in front of us like an amazing science-fiction street play just fed the love I have for Doctor Who. I think very little could spoil that.

Next time: Bells of St John!