30 March 2006

The hunt continues

So this finding a house lark is proving to be somewhat trickier than expected. Yes, there are some amazing houses out there, but they all seem to require us to win the lottery, which as we've had one number in the last four weeks isn't looking like something that's going to happen any time soon. Unfortunately. The rest all seem to be either too small, too smelly, or too empty - where on earth do these people keep their books?

But M is becoming very useful at charming middle-aged female estate agents. We're suddenly very memorable if I pop into an office or when I ring up, particularly if she's gurgling adorably in the background. It's amazing how quickly a viewing can be arranged at times. And handily M seems to have the dual purpose of putting off the slightly slimy male variety of estate agent (usually to be found in shiny suit with a lingering smell of aftershave).

The professional editor in me is fuming about most of the house details that I have to read through. If one more house is "warmed by gas central heating" and requires "a detailed internal inspection" to appreciate how "deceptively spacious" it is I am going to scream. It seems that no house in Low Fell is complete without a sun lounge or "atrium", and no house in Whitley Bay is without some sort of "sea view", even if you'd have to be a contortionist with a periscope to see it. Aaaargh. Will somebody somewhere please set up a school for estate agents to tell them how to (a) write and (b) spell?

18 March 2006

That's jazz

To the Sage Gateshead today, for a bit of lunchtime jazz. Sounds very pretentious, but wasn't - bands from the local college were playing, people were milling about chatting goodhumouredly, and M sat and covered herself in yoghurt from head to toe. Nobody batted an eyelid. It's an essential part of listening to music, obviously.

If thrashing arms and legs are a sign of enjoyment, then she quite digs jazz. Maybe I should invest in some black polonecks for her?

13 March 2006

Cake, anyone?

As a newbie YM who attends a fair few coffee mornings/chats over cups of tea with M, I can safely say that any biscuit or cake consumed would be much improved by being placed on one of these... And if you could happen to find a couple of fairy cakes to go on them (why do the Americans call them cupcakes? Just why?) then so much the better.

According to The Guardian, fairy cakes are now all the rage in LA. Marvellous. Ship me over now. But if you could just do something about the awful Liptons Yellow tea bags that are over there, that would be perfect.

12 March 2006

Feeling sick

I am pursued by a trail of vomit, of a feline and baby variety. I'm not sure what I've done to deserve this, but I really wish it would stop. Last time I checked it definitely wasn't in the small print.

More houses today, all of them vastly unsuitable. One 1920s terraced house had two gas fires, and a woman who didn't know if they worked or not, as she was "allergic to gas". A very realistic (but undoubtedly cuddly-toy) dog sat in a basket next to one of the fires, which was rather weird. The next house was artexed to death (every wall and ceiling in the house, in a delightful shade of prison grey-blue), and contained a black onyx dining room table and chair set which wouldn't have looked out of place in a James Bond villain's lair. In fact the lampshades, clock, tv set and sofas could have belonged there too. I know you're supposed to "look past the decor", but it would have cost thousands to put right. So maybe another one that wasn't really for us. The search continues.

11 March 2006

Just a wafer-thin mint?

Not content with the veg strike of the last few days, M has now decided all solid food is the work of the devil (with the exception of dried apricots, rice cakes and toast, which she can hold in her hand and proceed to mush into any available fabric/surface). It's hurting my YM credentials somewhat, given that I've been very good and made half a hundredweight of cubes of organic fruit and veg puree (Annabel Karmel-style, naturally), which are now sat redundantly in the freezer, for no-one to see. If she's not careful, I'll go the whole hog, and give her some chips. With gravy on the side.

House-buying gets more complicated, as plan A to move to the beach has fallen through. But we've seen a really nice place that's too expensive, as is always the way. All we now have to do is explain to the vendor that a low offer is not meant to be insulting to them or the condition of their house, it's simply that we don't have enough money, and are chancing our arms... Think it'll work?

02 March 2006

Poetry, please

"Quinquireme of Nineveh from distant Ophir..." has been running through my head all day. It's Patroclus' fault. So I went and looked up the whole thing in a very ancient (well, 1970s) book that I had as a child called "I Like This Poem". M and I have been getting into poetry recently, especially stuff that is silly and has lots of rhymes. She likes the Ning Nang Nong, and a bit of A A Milne. I'm rather partial to Macavity the Mystery Cat. We're both not overly fond of Roger McGough.

01 March 2006

Housey housey

The house madness continues - our offer has been accepted, and raspberry-fuelled summer dress fantasies are go. Obviously as the house we want is at the coast it will be a summer of sea frets and mist-obscured loveliness, while M and I sit indoors, watching endless reruns of ER and bewailing the demise of Anthony Edwards.

All being well, everything will descend into a chaotic mix of estate agents, builders, mortgage advisers and removal men, who will all proceed to suck their teeth and charge us a fortune. Something to look forward to, then.