Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Midweek musings

I’ve had a bit of a chequered history with the Irish police, starting with my friend’s picture being put on my age card when I was 18, up until a pretty funny phone call last weekend from Deputy Murphy.

My weekend bag was stolen on a train from Dublin to Belfast in March. In fairness to the police in Belfast, they at least pretended to start an investigation into it at the time, but since it was stolen somewhere along the track we all knew the chances of it ever turning up were very slim.

I was pretty much devastated because it was a beautiful bag and a present. Also, it had my passport in it, which is crucial when you're moving country and there is an ongoing strike in the passport offices.

I was properly distraught for a while, so, when I got a phone call on Sunday from Deputy Murphy, who, by the way, I had never heard of, I was surprised and a bit thrilled - hope is a thing with feathers etc.

The conversation went like this:

DM: Hi Ann-Marie, I'm just giving you a call about the investigation into your bag that was stolen on March 18th on the train to Belfast (just to note, he was reading a script)
Me: Oh great!
DM: Yes, I'm giving you a call to let you know we've no leads on the investigation, we haven't managed to track down the perpetrator of the crime.
Me: Oh, ok, but did you find the bag?
DM: No, we didn't. As I say we've no leads, nothing has come up. I was giving you a call to let you know


Out of courtesy I then took down his direct extension number and promised him that I would call him if I had any other further questions.

What, dear readers, could these questions POSSIBLY be? Also, who is paying this guy to make these redundant calls?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Victoria Park, 24th July

I took a pic of this lovely bike yesterday while I was out exploring my local neighborhood. As you can see the friendly guy in the pic (I forgot to ask him his name) was fixing his amazing bike in his front garden because he had crashed it earlier that morning. The damage was pretty minimal but he was taking it very seriously, demonstrated by taking the saddle off and all. You would too if you had a bike like that, in fact if I had a bike like that I'd probably just keep it in my living room and look at it rather than risk it's loss by taking it outside.

You'll be glad to hear he wasn't hurt, and said the accident was caused by him not looking where he was going. Sure you can't be doing that in the busy streets of London!

I'm still perfecting my technique when asking people if I can take a pic of them with their bike, usually I act pretty shifty and take the pic quickly and badly to get it over with. So that is something I'm going to have to work on!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Hips like a snake

I’ve mentioned my ongoing struggle with sciatica/back pain (once or twice...) but things are looking up because I’ve been going to a (very cute) physio and the exercises he has been giving me are really helping. I went to see him last Tuesday and he asked me how often I had done my daily exercises in the past week. So I told him that I had more or less done them 5 out of 7 days. He was like ‘so, you didn’t do your daily exercises daily’. Which embarrassed me so much I vowed (internally) that I would do whatever he told me to do this week. It was the type of embarrassment that brings me back to an entire childhood of mortifying missed practice for music lessons. (I think now is an appropriate time to mention that when I was in primary school I was so afraid of my piano teacher, but so reluctant to practice, that Fran and I would go to the local church for a quick rosary before my lesson on a weekly basis!)

So, the physio talked me through a few more stretches and re-emphasised to me just how important it is that I do the exercises as often as he tells me. He gives me a lovely yoga pose, the cobra, then he drops the bombshell; for this particular exercise I have to do ten repetitions TEN TIMES daily. Now I had struggled with three times, so I was like ‘here, honestly I think that’s going to be very difficult and fairly unrealistic’. And then he threw in the cruncher; ‘do you actually want to get better’.

So I have spent the last few days in a cloud of the cobra pose. For those of you that are not familiar with it, it’s done on the ground, not exactly office conducive. But since I have to do the stretches throughout the day rather than all at once I’ve had to start doing them at the office. I don’t want to be banging on about an injury around the office, so I’ve never explained my hourly, lengthy trips to the toilet. I’m not seeing him again until next Thursday, and I honestly can’t take his disapproving tone again, so it looks like I’m going to have at least 30 more inexplicably long absences next week!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Neighbourhood watch

I’ve never actually been inside my favourite shop in our neighbourhood, which, as you can see from the pic above, is a belt shop. I’m fascinated by it for several reasons:
  1. You can’t go in unless you ring a doorbell. I know this happens in some very posh shops in North and West London, but it’s not that kind of area! It makes it all the more interesting to me!
  2. One would expect a specialised belt shop to have high quality merchandise, so you’d think brown and black leather belts. But this shop specialises in coloured neon and studded belts.
  3. The shop is not located in a clothing district, but just by itself amongst a plethora of restaurants.
  4. The very best thing is that it is supposed to be an exclusive belt shop, but Sharon said that she saw a belt in there (through the window, she hasn’t rang the bell yet either!) that she one time got on a dress and threw it out so basically the merchandise is not of high quality!
  5. I have never seen someone go in or out of the shop
  6. This BELT shop is so special it has it’s own car park as is demonstrated in the picture below. Now the only shops I know of that have their own car parks are supermarkets and furniture shops. Not a belt shop with no customers.
So I’m deeply suspicious. I’m also very disappointed because if the shutters weren’t down when I went to take the picture, you’d be able to see the multicoloured fiesta that is the window display. I was pissed off at the guy for stepping into my picture, so then I decided to use the one of him in it as revenge. Sure with the readership of this blog it’s as bad as posting it on the Daily Mail.

I ever do make it inside the doors of Rajan Leather Belt Company, you, dear readers, will be the first to hear about it.

As an aside, I went outside this evening and took a few pics of the shop and a few cyclists, as I walked away a fairly scary man came out of a take away across the road and asked me what I was taking pictures for. I acted shady, only because I was so scared of him, and told him I liked the sign and I lived in the area. Then I realised I was an idiot for telling him where I lived and I legged it home, looking behind me the whole way in case he was following me. Thankfully he wasn’t.

Monday, July 19, 2010

East side story

Living in east end london, by all appearances, is not conducive to hanging on to your bike. I was a big fan of biking around in Dublin and would love to do the same in London if I hadn't been told repeatedly that I shouldn't buy a bike unless I can accept that it's going to be stolen. So, for the moment, I'm living my biking life vicariously through the life of strangers. In some ways there is no better place to be on the look out for people with amazing bikes, but on the other hand, every bike is a further reminder that I don't have one of my own.

I've been a victim of bike crime in the past and know myself that I don't take it well, that, coupled with the horrific thieving stories I've heard (one of the girls that works with me had her bike was stolen from INSIDE her house) , and the remaining parts of bikes that I see all around the city have prevented me from purchasing. After a recent (and ongoing) visit from my friend Caoimhe, I've decided to put up a few pics of the lovely bikes, and their owners, that I come across on a daily basis.

There's no doubt that the first pic is not good. I'll be the first to admit that. But the owner was as proud as punch of his set of wheels, he told me he was supposed to be working at Lovebox handing out flyers but the security staff had told him to 'fuck off'. And you have to start somewhere. So here we are.