Saturday, 27 April 2013

What a day, what a day...

...for an auto-da-fe...

It's a Saturday, which is good.

Despite pretty cloudy skies it has only rained once all day, which is good.

I could be a heck of a lot worse-off and I'm not.  Which is good (~ish).

But, eee, what a day.

I have spent most of today online, trying to book my annual holiday.  I've been so careful with money, trying to save enough so that I can splash out on two whole weeks of perfect relaxation in Greece next month.  And I'd looked at my bank account and thought "Yes!  I've made it!  I have enough money!  Holida-ay!"

Then I started trying to book it.

I think I do this every year.  I tell myself to be sensible and go to a travel agent; then I think "But all these companies have websites and online bookings, and if I use those I get far more choice.  Ach, come on, don't be a baby, you have Kaspersky anti-virus, you can shop online!".  And I fall for it again; this illusion that it will be easier.  Because there was a time - about ten years ago - when it was.

Not anymore.

Thomson Holidays actively don't want my money.  Their online booking system stinks to high heaven; seriously, it SUCKS.  It doesn't accept the existance of single travellers, and changes its mind about availability every five minutes, and keeps randomly altering the booking criteria for no apparent reason (one minute I'm booking for the dates I want, the next it's shifted my holiday on by a fortnight.  Why, Thomson, why?).

I complained, and was advised to "ring our customer service team".  So I did; and they said "Oh, no, we can't take a late booking over the telephone, counter-fraud measures, so sorry, computer says no, please go to your nearest Thomson Preferred travel agent."

My nearest Thomson Preferred travel agent is in effing Ruislip.

Thomson Customer Service: I'm sorry but when a booking date is within three weeks we have to implement counter-fraud measures because it could be fraud.
Me: Other companies take late bookings over the telephone!  I work in a customer service role myself, I know this isn't your fault, but - but - it's a really stupid situation.  I am trying to give your company my money and at every stage of the process Thomson are making it as hard as possible for me.

She was nice, insofar as she didn't get outright frosty when I was getting arsey.  But no go, nonetheless.

I went online some more.  Thomas Cook's website jammed when I tried to tell it I want to fly from a London airport.

Thomas Cook's Website:  Urgh...  Work.  Me no like work.  London; London?  >spinning wheel of death symbol<  wtf, nsfw, rofl, hehehehe unf...

Olympic Holidays website does at least work.

Olympic Holidays Website:  Here are some options - Kalymnos; north Crete in the middle of nowhere with a shingle beach; or a place on Rhodes that you haven't heard of.

I got hopeful.  I'd found some possibilities.  Not what I wanted (2 weeks on Thassos) but passable; and still Greece.  Still my heart's-home, my heaven and heart's ease, Hellas.

Then I noticed the problem.  All these potential holidays have bl**dy night flights.  For the return flight.

Oh yes, I'm so up for that.  Go away, relax, chill out; walk in the mountains and under the pines swim in the sea eat good Greek food drink retsina and Mythos write sketch read sleep soundly for fourteen nights; and then stay up till three a.m travelling home.  Blow all the benefit of your holiday in one night, without even having any bloody fun doing it, and stagger into work the next day looking so pie-eyed people think you've been across the Atlantic and back and partied till you were blue in the face.

Hell, maybe I should.  Wonder what Cuba is like this time of year?

Bah humbug, and horseshit and a pile of it.  The yearly saga of Im's unbooked holiday.

Tbc, I expect.  I hope.  I pray.

There's a rainbow over west London as I write this.  Please let that be an omen.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Well, this is odd; five:two diet (update)

I still haven't lost that much actual on-the-scales weight on this here five-two diet; just over a stone, in around six months (and that's including a month off after the flu and a couple of shorter breaks).  But I have changed shape so much; it's really quite odd.

My boobs are still the same size, hurrah.  But I've had to take two pairs of trousers in at the waist.  And when I tried on the two shirts I thought I was going to have to let out - to see how much I needed to let them out by - I found that I don't need to let them out anymore.

And three pairs of jeans that were close-fitting, bordering on tight, all through the upper third are now comfy at the waist and loose in the thigh.

I know raving about diets is a problem for some people.  I've never been a dieter before, much less a diet fangirl.  If you know me, you know I'm definitly not a closet anorexic with horrendous denial issues...  But it is really satisfying to lose weight, off the bits that needed to lose it, painlessly and straightforwardly, like this.  And to feel so healthy on it (at least now I've shaken off that miserable flu and its aftereffects).  

I'm enjoying my days off, although aware (from the degree that I've slumped) that I had indeed got very, very tired lately.  I'm doing some writing and some sewing, I'm having a lie-in in the mornings, and yesterday I had lunch out and made a batch of fudge (which came out a bit funny, but still tastes good).  Writing, sewing, cookery; all very fulfilling creative acts.

Life is okay, yep, I think so...   And realising how tired I've been getting has made me decide that if I possibly can, this year, I'm going to have a full two weeks away in Greece, instead of the one week I have ended up with the last few years.  It's worth committing a bit more money to, to get that utter peace, the pine-scented clean air, and the swimming in the sea and reading as much as I want...  So if I get the chance, this week, I'm going to try and book that.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Well, this is a pleasure...

I have a week off.

Nothing planned for it, not going away, not even going away for the weekend.  Nothing.  Yet there is so much to do!  I feel as though I may finally catch up with myself.  Work has been hectic lately (far, far better than being bored, I remind myself hastily - I have had jobs in the past that were really boring, and it's a seriously grim experience).  Life has felt like one long session of chase-my-own-tail, only without the fun that cats and dogs seem to get out of it, and I'm tired.

I've almost completely given up watching the tele lately, in order to get some more writing done.  I had read that it was a very effective trick, and I can now vouch for that.  I gave myself a long holiday from "Gold Hawk", and wrote a lot of other bits and bobs, and gave my brain a proper rest before facing up to the painful task of killing off my heroine's family.  The bits and bobs were fun to do - a few of them are on ICW and there are some others on a tumblr-writers' blog called jrfrustration, if you're interested (though be warned, the two letters at the beginning of that blog address are indicative)...  But now it's back to the real thing again, i.e. hurting poor Anna, and making Thorn feel bad.  I'm such a lovely mama to my characters.

Besides the writing, which I hope to do some of every day this week, I'm planning on taking in a couple of exhibitions and perhaps doing a bike ride along the Thames towpath.  I have some needlework (there are two blouses I want to let out and some trousers to take in, not to mention a pair of summer baggy trews that have been half-finished for about two years).  It's my week this week to clean the flat; bleah, but it has to be done.  I want to bake bread and make some dried-apricot jam and a couple of batches of proper crumbly fudge (I'm thinking one lot classic vanilla, one lot honey-walnut...).  I want to turn out my summer clothes, since out of the blue the weather has turned warm and bright and one can finally believe the spring is here.  I want to catch up with some of the weird bits of shopping that get postponed week after week because one simply doesn't have the effing time to go trailing around looking for odd things like expanding compost.  I want to de-mealy-bug my phalaenopsis again.  And I'd to try and catch up with the Dipterist, who I haven't seen for ages and who could probably do with a break (maybe I can bribe her with fudge?).  

Of course, that is a huge wish-list and I probably won't do the half of it.

I also aim to catch up on some sleep.  Did some of that this morning, which is why I'm now more than halfway through Monday already and haven't achieved very much.  I know it looks like sheer laziness!  But, oh, the bliss - having Monday off, and not having to leap from my bed and rush about! 

Okay, enough of this; I've got things to do.  Starting with lunch, and that cleaning.  Get the cleaning out of the way, and the rest of this week is mine to with as I please.  Mine, all mine!