Friday, December 31, 2010

Back In To The Swing

I returned to work yesterday. Saying it was painful would be an understatement of this soon to be over decade. I had an incredible ten days off over Christmas due to bad weather and what not. I think it's safe to say that of those ten days, eight were spent on the couch watching DVDs and steadily increasing the circumference of my arse. I spent all of my first working day on my feet and my god did I feel it!

When I got home my feet and legs were aching, my back was in bits and I generally felt that if I was a horse of any kind I would be kindly led out the back and put out of my misery. The positive here was the fact that our water was finally fixed and back to normal. In other words, our landlord had finally pulled his finger out and sorted it properly. He had "fixed it" the day before to an extent where we had cold water in the kitchen and nothing else anywhere in the house. He deemed this to be enough before he took off to a funeral (=drinking session in the pub).

Being in such pain after only a days' work in more than a little worrying. I think I really need to get my ass into gear and get fitter. Because I'm getting old. And the older you get, the harder it gets. I always found losing weight and getting fit quite easy once I actually got down to doing it. Finding the motivation to do it is that much harder. Maybe I'll paste fatty pictures onto the fridge. It doesn't help that my brother and his fiance sent proper Finnish chocolate and sweets alongside lovely homemade scarves for both myself and Mr S. Maybe we'll just eat the treats in one fell swoop and be done with it.

Anyhoo, work was busy, seemingly there are a lot of people who are coming out of their cabin fever state of mind and are only delighted to get out of their houses. I'm facing into another day of this today. Right now, actually. Better get going.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


I believe I have previously said that I'm not all that bothered about turning thirty. Well, turns out that I am. It's only a bit over a week away now and I'm feeling a bit panicky. Or maybe not panicky, but you know that feeling you get when you know you were supposed to do something and you realise you've forgotten to do it? I'm just not quite sure what it is that I was supposed to have achieved by this landmark.

Don't get me wrong, I'm more than happy with the way things are in my life. I have a wonderful man, Mr S, who inexplicably is still around despite the fact that I can be a downright bitch to live with at times. I'm sure that goes some way of explaining why he works such long hours. We've been together over eight years which is quite an achievement for me.

As for things, material stuff. Well, I know a lot of people seem to think owning a house is something you should do by the time you're thirty but if I'm completely honest I'm not sure I'm ready to handle a mortgage right now. We've toyed with the idea of moving abroad, too, so I'm guessing the less baggage the better. Although looking around me and thinking I need to pack all of these things up into boxes very soon fills me with dread. Six years of accumulative stuff. We might need ten trips in the van just to shift my shoes.

I've landed a job which, despite all my moaning and whinging, I actually like. I like the people I work with, I like the type of work I do and it's more or less what I studied in college so I think I deserve a pat on the back for that. A friend back in Finland has changed careers three times already from travel agent to translator to banker and still hasn't found what it is exactly what they want to do.

So why am I panicking? Well I am and I'm not. I suppose it's just the feeling of oldness. Or maturity. I've always been taken for an older person than I actually am, which came in handy when you were 16 trying to get into a nightclub. But now I'm thinking to myself, am I going to look like I'm 40 when I'm only 30? I did get asked for an ID in Tesco not that long ago and it made me smile. Firstly, because the girl at the till was barely 18 herself. Secondly, because I only had my driving license, issued in Finland, with me, I had the pleasure of having to point out to the now very confused girl where to find my date of birth on it. I'm not sure why she decided to ask for my ID; I had a trolley full of food (about €80 worth) and two bottles of wine. How many 17-year old people do you know who spend that amount of money on food?

In a way I'm glad to be older, but unfortunately I fear I may be expected to act like an adult now. I do that at work, to a certain extent, but spending time with people good bit younger than myself dictates that I can't be wearing my mature hat out to the pub. St. Stephen's night outing in Westport proved that given the right amount of alcohol I'm no better than a teenager. I'm pretty sure I'm barred from Cosy Joe's.

But I'm starting to think that not even adults act like adults. You remember when you were small, you're parents knew everything? Right up until you hit puberty when they knew nothing. And after you came out of you horrifically angst-y, self-absorbed, moody puberty tunnel and saw the light of impending adulthood, you started to realise they might be onto something after all. But let's go back to when you're about four or five. Your parents knew everything. They knew how to cook food. They knew how to fix things. They knew how to grow things in the garden. They know how to drive a car, answer the phone, use a computer and they knew when it was time to defrost the freezer. Imagine someone coming up to you and whispering in your ear "They don't really know, they're making it up as they go along". Imagine looking up to your parents and realising they're just plodding along, just as you are now when you're older without a clear cut idea in your head as to what you should be doing.

Anyhoo, I seem to be rambling a bit. I'm looking forward to being thirty as much as I'm dreading it. Don't expect me to be any more mature than I'm now, I still laugh at farts and toilet jokes. A woman I work with, I'm sure I've mentioned her before, is over 40 and doesn't look or act it. I intend to go that way. I'll be okay as long as I don't wake up on my birthday and have this staring back at me.

For those interested, it's a painting by Quentin Matsys called A Grotesque Old Woman (or The Ugly Duchess).

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Christmas!

Despite all that went before, disappointments and inconveniences, it is still Christmas and I love this time of year. Our water pipes may be frozen, I may not have left the house in days because of the weather. We may not have been able to travel to Finland for Christmas and we may have had to make some compromises.

Nevertheless, we have plenty of food for us, the cats and the birds outside. The house is warm and you can smell the Christmas in the air. Mr S and I are together and that's all that matters in the end. Thanks to Skype we can still see my family tonight and tomorrow.

All is well and we are starting to quiet things down. Here is my favourite Christmas carol.
Happy and Peaceful Christmas to you all!

Thursday, December 23, 2010


We couldn't make it to the airport. We couldn't even make it to the bus taking us to the airport. The roads are bloody brutal and last night I think I lost another few years out of my life trying to get to Galway. Having slip slided a couple of times we decided it wasn't worth carrying on. No point in both of us ending up to in the hospital. Or the morgue.

We were disappointed to say the least. Especially as the airport was finally open and all the flights were operating as normal. Well, more or less normal I suppose, although our airline did advise there'd be delays which didn't do much to reassure me seeing as our stopover in Oslo was only for 30 minutes. The nice man told me that there was a possibility that we might miss our connecting flight and end up waiting in Oslo for a connection for a day. Or three.

I just saw on Twitter that the airport in Dublin is closed again. I'm glad we decided to turn back, at least now we're at home and not stranded at the airport with no clue as to when or if we get to fly out. I feel really sorry for the people who are there, waiting, but as of now I am determined to make christmas here. I'm defrosting a ham as we speak.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Testing times

God I cannot bear this.. We've decided not to drive up to Dublin but take the bus instead. Which leaves 3.45 from Galway. Which means we have to travel on icy back roads to get to the shagging bus! I hate this country's inability to prepare for these kinds of things. When we had ice and snow last winter, I kept hearing how it would most certainly happen again because that's the way our climate is changing. Did anyone take any notice? No, we were all too busy enjoying the roasting hot summer.

Cabin Fever and Other Anxieties

Firstly, I've been stuck in the house more or less since Saturday. Stuck here with very little to do. Pretty much by myself with the cats. Mr S continues to go into work which adds to my stress levels as I keep picturing him and his car in a ditch, slowly being covered over by falling snow. So far so good and he's been able to do shopping and other bits but my OCD seems to flare up whenever I look in the fridge and see the wrong kind of cheese. I say nothing, it would be ungrateful, wouldn't it?

I've been defiantly packing my bags for our Christmas holiday. Defiantly, because every couple of hours there seem to be reports of the Dublin Airport being closed due to ice and snow. I spent most of yesterday compulsively checking both Dublin Airport's website and Scandinavian Airlines' website for information on our flights. I ended up ringing the airline and spoke to a very friendly lady who told me that while she couldn't give me a definite answer on whether or not our flights would be able to take off, she was being optimistic. Poor woman, she had had her ear chewed off by irate passengers over the phone for the last two days or so. As if the airlines just got together and said "Right, let's mess with all those thousands of paying customers and cancel all the flights, yeah? We'll tell them it's because of the snow, make them sleep at the airport, we'll take a huge loss in profit and face the paperwork to refund them all afterwards. Mmmmkay?" Yeah. Because that makes sense.

I do feel for anyone stranded at the airport, especially this time of year. Mr S and I, even if our flight does get canceled, we'll be able to at least go back home and spend christmas here. I heard they'd been telling people with canceled flights to leave the airport as they were running out of room. And where were these people supposed to go? Many were heading home for christmas, not living in Ireland and therefore had nowhere to go. They sent out a plea in the news for taxi drivers to go to the airport because the people who did have somewhere to go, couldn't get there because there weren't any buses or taxis to take them there.

In any case, I'm determined to get there. The roads may prove a challenge, though. We'll just have to head out early and hope for the best.

Monday, December 20, 2010


I've definitely turned into my mother. I'm obsessed with the weather. Every news bulletin on the radio, or telly, I have to catch the weather. And in between the news I keep checking the web pages. It is quite cold here for Ireland, anyway. -4 this morning and the ground is white with proper snow.

I haven't been to work since last Friday (it's now Monday). We got a good bit of snow on Friday night but that didn't stop me from heading in towards work on Saturday morning. I was about 3km away from work when my phone rang and I was told I was a lunatic for driving in the snow and was ordered to go home. Fair enough, boss' orders and all that. Not that I really minded getting an extra day off. My phone had been ringing before that, colleagues telling me they couldn't make it in because of the snow. Another one wondering was it worth it trying to get in. We all got a lovely duvet day, I spent mine watching bad movies. Namely Wrong Turn and Wrong Turn 2: Dead End. Great trash.

Later on on Saturday I got a text telling me I didn't need to show up for work on Sunday, either. Making sure I had a good supply of more trashy movies to watch, I settled into my couch-based nest and got all nice and cosy.

More news on the work front followed on Sunday evening; we were to close for Christmas anyway on the evening of Tuesday 21st but seeing as Monday was still supposed to be very cold, it was decided that we'll close early for the holidays and open again on the 28th. Which means I don't have to go to work until the 30th! Extended holidays = win.

We're just waiting to hear about the Christmas party. After all the headache I went through to get the bloody outfit and everything ready, there had better be one! If we can make it into Galway for the night, that is.

I don't mind the cold or the snow. It is inconvenient, we have no water most of the day, but it does thaw out enough for a shower and washing up at some stage. Probably not today, though. It is set to stay well below zero all day long. Ah well, let's conserve water, shall we.

The travel disruptions are worrying me, though. We're set to fly out of Dublin to Helsinki via Oslo on Thursday. Firstly, travelling to Dublin from here is a challenge. Snowy, icy roads all the way into Galway and there's no guarantees the motorway from Galway to Dublin will be any better. We'll head out early and make sure we'll have plenty of time. I'm just wishing the airport will be open when we get there. Like I said, I'm obsessively checking the weather forecasts. Just in case.

And just in case we get stranded here for Christmas, I have a freezer full of food and plenty of wine to keep us nice and warm. Just in case.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Best Laid Plans...

I should've known better than to plan a whole Christmas party outfit without as much as visiting a shop. I had it all planned, didn't I? The dress, the shoes, the accessories. And a cunning plan to hit the shops in carefully planned order to maximise my haul in record time. All of that went out the window when we got to the first scheduled stop, Marks & Spencer where I had planned to get the dress. The dress that I had drooled over and fantasised about for a number of days. Though titties to me, they didn't have it.

So there was very little point in going for the cute ankle boots to go with the non-existent dress. Plan B: drag myself and Teresa into every possible shop in Galway city trying to find a nice dress. And shoes. And accessories. Hi-Ho!

Tried on a  John Rocha dress at Debenhams, it was very unusual and could've been dressed up nicely with some purple tights and boots, but it was really more summery than christmassy. New Look had a nice black playsuit but it was way too short for me to enjoy the evening without being very conscious of my legs. While in New Look I had a quick peek at the shoes and quickly noticed the boots I had spotted online weren't there, either. So much for that part of my brilliant plan. Onwards and upwards!

Penneys came up trumps. Again. I found two dresses, coming to a grand total of €41. Two dresses. For €41! Brilliant. One is a dark blue embellished collared, ruffled, sleeveless dress. The other one is super-cute, wool blend, check pattern, A-line dress. Dorothy Perkins supplied boots to go with both. Unfortunately, after getting home I realised the grey ones aren't a pair. One is size 5 and another one is a size 6. I rang them today and they told me they were really sorry about the mistake and went to make sure they had the boot there for pick up. I explained to the very helpful Rebecca that I don't live just around the corner, that it is in fact over an hour's drive away for me to get there and to do so just to pick up a single boot seemed a bit too much. She was very understanding when I suggested that they could send out a courier to deliver the right boot in exchange for the one I got given by mistake. She told me she'd get back to me. She rang me back in about half an hour to ask me if it would be possible for me to pick the boot up from Oughterard (that's about half an hour away from where I live). One of her staff lives there and was offering to drop the boot off at the petrol station and arrange for me to drop mine off there for her to collect. Random but helpful. Courier would've been a feasible option had it not been a week before Christmas. They would've gotten out here sometime next week. When I'm in Finland.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Too busy to eat

...and it's playing havoc with my moods. And I most definitely am not doing this out of choice. I've had my fair share of mad diet plans and this is not one of them. I remember living off red wine and chocolate for a very blurry two weeks out of my life when I was 19. I lost about 10kg (20 or so pounds) and probably shortened my life by a couple of years at least.

Right now I've been so busy at work I haven't had time to eat. And the downside of being surrounded by food all day long is that by lunchtime you don't actually feel like eating any of it because you've been staring at it all day. Not that there's anything wrong with the food, quite the opposite, but too much of anything is, well, too much. And there's been so much to do over the last week, we're hosting a huge function tomorrow and getting everything ready for that has been a challenge to say the least. And that has meant a few compromises on my part, namely giving up solid food. I had a scone today. A sandwich the day before. And I believe I managed a bag of crisps the day before that.

So, needless to say I find myself getting quite irritable at around 3pm. Irritable and usually with a pounding headache and the shakes to go with that. Not healthy and not pleasant. And to make matters worse, I love my coffee. I'm running on caffeine and that's quite a rollercoaster.

By the time I get home I'm so hungry I have to make myself a snack while waiting for my proper meal to be ready. Today, peanut butter sandwich while waiting for pizza. Yesterday, ryvita and cheese while cooking carbonara pasta. You get the point, yeah?

I have no idea why I'm blogging about my lack of eating routine... Hunger has made me delirious. Awesome.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Dressed for Distress

It seems to be that time of year again. Time for the Christmas Party. Ours is being very generously organised by our boss at one of his hotels, free of charge to all staff members. Pretty good deal considering so many companies have cancelled theirs. In fairness we had a very good season, so it seems only appropriate to treat everybody to a night out after all this years' hard work. And work hard we did, but it has been well worth it I must say. Let's see if I still feel the same way after Monday's monster do at my work but more on that later. Let's just say I have so many paper cuts, hay fever and other hamper-related injuries I think I need to take some time off just to recuperate before I start again.

Anyway, Christmas Party. And I have no idea why I've felt the need to capitalise Party, either. The usual panic has started to settle in. The Dress Issue. I have a vague idea what to wear, I've even found this lovely dress on Marks & Spencer website and was thinking of wearing that with black tights and grey ankle boots. The problem is that I don't know if they have that dress in the M&S in Galway, so I really don't want to get my hopes up too much. I had planned on going to Galway on a little shopping spree on Tuesday with Teresa, but the roads were still like an ice rink, we postponed it to next week. Another possible issue is that I will end up looking like a bag of spanners once I put the dress on. Has happened before, folks, just to let you know. Morto. I found the perfect pair of boots in the New Look website but once again, it's the UK website and I have no way of knowing for sure whether of not they stock them in Ireland before I actually get there. Please please please, get your asses into gear and get your Irish sites up and running, I have a credit card that is in need of abusing!!

So, ideally I would walk into the shops, pick up those items and they would look good, yes? Obviously the dress needs accessorising, I'm thinking sparkly black and silver; clutch, belt, and all the cheap jewelry Penneys has to offer! That is the plan and the ideal situation for me to find myself in. However, these things usually never go to plan so I need a plan B. Which I don't have. So the "bag of spanners" may well be the look I'm going for on the night. I suppose after a copious amount of Morgan's Spiced rum and coke (the drinking kind, not the snorting kind) I won't care what I look like. There's also going to be karaoke, I hear. Awesome.

There are a few people at work I haven't seen on a night out. I cannot wait to see our Finance Manager let her hair down. She recently told me she'd been to a christening and had had a good 20, maybe 25 bottles of beer on the night. She'd gone home, gotten to bed and felt the room spin faster and faster as she laid down on the bed, beside her snoring husband. She had quite unceremoniously leaned over the side of the bed, gotten sick on the floor and flopped back down thinking to herself "I'll clean that up tomorrow". She woke up the next morning to a particularly hideous hangover and a smell wafting up from beside her bed so bad, she nearly got sick again. The smell was in no way made any better by the fact that the house has under-floor heating. I'm gagging as I'm typing this.

This was just to illustrate the type of people we're gathering together into a secure hotel environment, plying them with free food and wine, and making them sing karaoke. My boss said she wants cameras and camera phones banned from the party. She didn't particularly like the photos I put up on Facebook last year. They weren't even that bad, if I'm truly honest. Majority of them was taken early on in the night when everyone was still in a relatively clear state of mind. At least my drunken singing and trying to talk Kevin the Barman into joining me was never caught on any type of a camera. Not even a CCTV. I checked.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Feelin odd

This is going to be annoyingly incoherent, so feel free to stop here. I find myself in a strange mood tonight. I'm getting an all-over odd feeling of excitement mixed with dread and I cannot for the life of me understand why. I have felt like this before, years ago, and even of that i can only remember this peculiar feeling and nothing leading up to it or anything that might have followed it. Here's a song that's been firmly lodged in my head ever since Little Lion Man lured me into buying the album:

In my mind I see images of smoky pubs, little corner pubs with stale air, open fires and lowered heads. Half-drunk pints and next ones on order at the nod of the head. Hushed conversations, crack of a match and the flame brought close enough to breathe life into a cigarette. Opening of the door, the noise of the outside briefly invading the warmth inside. Background music providing a beat to your speech, involuntarily.

I know this must sound odd, but it's the way my mind works sometimes. Conjuring up images for me to figure out whether it's somewhere I should be, something I should do, or maybe something to be avoided. Mostly these things occur in my sleep and my subconscious mind works away at them without bothering me too much, but every now and then, such as tonight there's something there demanding my attention. It's odd how these things are always triggered by music. Or maybe my brain knows it's the fool-proof way to grab my attention. Here's another one that cropped up recently, haven't heard this in ages and it took me a good while to even remember the name of the song or the band...

I'll be gone now, with my teenage-y, inane, navel gazing ramblings. Seriously, someone slap me, please!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

First Aid for Shock

I could've done with some first aid on Sunday. I was stupid enough to venture out onto the icy roads we had and managed to do a bit of damage to my back bumper. It had rained on Saturday, and it froze hard overnight creating a lovely skating opportunity for cars and pedestrians alike. I'm bloody delighted I didn't hit a pedestrian, god, shuddering just thinking about it.

I was heading into work, I wonder would my boss pay for a new bumper, seeing as technically it was due to him that I was out driving in the first place. It's worth dropping it into conversation, I suppose. Our head chef, the lunatic, had travelled a far greater distance in the same conditions. We rang him first, our logic behind it being that if we had no chef, there'd be very little point in us going in. He was in when we rang. Bastard.

Anyhoo, I'm getting a quote on the bumper, hoping that David will come up trumps as he has many times before. I suppose it could've been a lot worse. I could've hurt myself or someone else, but it's the hassle and cost of having to sort something like that out that's annoying me. Although, I could've ended up like this guy, so I must say I was very lucky. I'd like to think I was very cool and calm but that would be lying, it was horrible. Such a loud bang from such a small car I must say. I did get quite a fright, I nearly wet myself when I realised there was nothing I could do to stop the car from sliding. I had made it down a very steep hill getting into the village, but it was a tiny little bit of a hill that I got stuck on and tried to let the car roll back to try and get up the hill again. So much for that theory.

In other news, I passed my first aid exam with full marks on Monday! We had three Mondays in a row to get to grips with CPR, bandaging, and all other things first aid related. We also learned to use the defibrillator, quite a handy piece of kit, I must say. It's not one of those things you see being used on TV, it's a little portable device and it's fully automatic. As our instructor assured us, it will not shock anyone who doesn't need it. Even if we tried to do so on purpose. Which is a relief since I accidentally "killed" the instructor the first time I was practising using it. But, as of yesterday, bring me your sick and poorly, I shall administer first aid and then promptly ring an ambulance.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Ginger Rule

So, Mick Hucknall, eh? He's only gone and apologized in an interview with The Guardian for sleeping with, by his own calculations, over 3000 women. This all happened on the mid 1980's when the world's collective taste in pretty much everything apart from music was truly appalling. Neon colours, perms, leg warmers and shoulder pads ruled the earth. Skinny jeans, skinny ties and rolled up sleeves on suit jackets. Remember? I was born at the beginning of this offensive-to-all-senses decade but was still able to take full advantage. I still have my awesome neon pink lycra leggings and an oversized tee-shirt tucked away in the wardrobe of yesteryear... But Mick Hucknall? Seriously? The ginger one off Simply Red? THIS MAN?!? Here's the interview

There are many hot ginger men to choose from, there truly are. I don't understand the strange double standard of red headed women being perceived as being fiery and feisty and redheaded men perceived as being unattractive, nerdy and geeky. Mick Hucknall aside. A few cases in point as follows:

Specimen #1. Ewan McGregor
I must admit, his charm has partly something to do with him being Scottish and me being partial to any kind of an accent. But just look at his ginger head. He is lovely. So much better than Mick H.

Specimen #2. Kevin McKidd.
Now the name might not ring a bell with anyone who doesn't religiously follow Grey's Anatomy. He plays Dr Owen Hunt. And he is just yummy. And it's not just about him being a doctor and an army dude (I have been known to be drawn to men in uniform). He's all moody and tough and has issues. Has issues in Grey's Anatomy, I don't know about his personal life, but if he needs any help sorting anything out, I'll be more than happy to help. Just putting it out there... Owen? Kevin?

Specimen #3. Robert Kazinsky.
Anyone over in the USA might not know who he is, but that doesn't stop you from appreciating his ginger gorgeousness, now does it? Our lovely Robert featured in the UK soap EastEnders and Sean Slater, a bad boy and a all-round hottie. I was quite sad to see him written out of the soap, but you can still follow him on Twitte r@RobertKazinsky, he's spending quite a lot of time in America, you lucky overseas gingerlovers! Just look at him! You could have him on toast, you could...

Specimen #4. Seth Green.
This little cutie has the geek chic working for him as well as being ginger hottie. One thing baffles me, though. He looks the exact same in nearly all photos. Just do a Google image search on him and you know what I mean. He's pocket size, our Seth is and somehow it makes him all the more appealing to me. I loved him in Buffy and Angel, I love him even more now because of Family Guy and Robot Chicken. The little ginger man can do no wrong. Seriously, he can't. Look at Austin Powers.

Specimen #5. Rupert Grint.
Who would've known that Harry Potter's best friend would grow up to be such a ginger dish? He went from a dear little Ron Weasley into a bone fide hottie in Cherrybomb. And all of that in the space of few years. Now that I think of it, there are quite a few of the Harry Potter stars who have grown up to be really quite yummy. I feel a bit wrong just typing that because I remember the first movie and how little they were. It's okay, they're all legal now. Aren't they? Here's a link to a great gallery of HP stars then and now. Neville Longbottom, anyone? Cousin Dudley doesn't look too bad, either...

Specimens #6 and #7. James and Oliver Phelps.
Keeping with the Harry Potter theme here. And I am aware that these two strapping lads aren't actually ginger, but having spent the last 10 years and seven movies bouncing about the place with ginger hair, I think we'll let them participate. I can't tell these two apart, by the way, and I won't even pretend to have a favourite. They both are equally tasty bit of ginger. Remember that long, ginger hair they had in the earlier Harry Potter movies? Hated it. Really really hated it. With the shorter hair and those lovely eyes, you could wave your wands at me any day of the week! Both boys can be found on Twitter, by the way @James_Phelps and @OliverPhelps. You're welcome.

Specimen #8. Laura Prepon.
I will not have anyone say that I am gender biased. Admittedly, I prefer to ogle at gentlemen (and as previously demonstrated, sometimes barely legal boys), but I shall not make an assumption that everyone else does. And I can appreciate the beauty of the female form as well. Although that I do with a healthy amount of envy. But moving on. Laura Prepon of That 70's Show Fame was always to me very beautiful. A friend pointed out to me recently he'd noticed her in a magazine and "was surprised as he didn't think a girl that tall and ginger could be that hot). Yes, poor Laura. Way to overcome your crippling disabilities.

Specimen #9. Karen Gillan.
Again, here is someone who probably is a relative unknown Stateside but a lovely ginger lady nonetheless. Cool geeks world over love her as Amy Pond, the companion to The Doctor. Ah, Doctor Who! No longer a scare at bedtime consisting of a random time-travelling man battling monsters made of a bit of leftover carpet samples and some kitchen foil. Thank you, BBC for bringing it up to date. We even forgive your casting error. Namely Christopher Ecclestone. What were you thinking? You more than made up for it in David Tennant. Karen in hot in a girl-next-door kind of way... I am forever jealous.

Specimen #10. Christina Hendricks.
She is the epitome of Hot Red Head. Just look at her. A touch of Dita von Teese, a touch of Bree Van de Kamp with tons of sex appeal. She is so very well cast in Mad Men. If you haven't seen it yet, please watch it, it's awesome. Christina is the reason why 1950's glamour works so well. Just look at the woman! I would.

Specimen #11. Alyson Hannigan.
Ever since she showed up as Willow in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I've loved her. She is just bloody brilliant and it has nothing to do with the colour of her hair. Who hasn't seen her in How I Met Your Mother and thought she was hot? Something nextdoor-sy about her, too. How do these women do it!? Grrrr...

Specimen #12. Jessica Rabbit.
The ultimate redhead. Need I say more?

So, to conclude my highly scientific essay on ginger beauty... I believe I have conclusively proved that there really are better options than Mick H when is comes to finding a bit of ginger lovin'. And, in case you're wondering, Mr S is, in fact, ginger. But keep your paws to yourselves, folks, he's all mine...

Plane Irritating

I can’t say that I travel all that much. Not as much as I’d like. I do spend quite a lot of time on airplanes, nonetheless, what with me living in Ireland and most of my family still residing in Finland. Flying to Finland, for me, doesn’t count as travelling, although I am glad the people responsible for calculating frequent flyer miles don’t see it that way. After 6 years of permanent residence in Ireland, hopping over to Finland is much like driving over to the local shop for milk. Only more expensive and time-consuming.

I have one question for the airlines, all of them; why oh why do you not screen people’s personal hygiene?! I mean, you check our passports, boarding passes, suitcases, hand luggage, pockets, belts, shoes and hats. You check whether or not we are in possession of an appropriate bag to contain all our liquids and pastes (clear, re-sealable plastic bag no larger than 1 litre in volume, FYI) and on occasion rummage through our hand luggage just in case we have decided to smuggle something very small in between the pages of our Times Sudoku book. More recently you scan under our clothes, too. You can see our bits just in case I am trying to sneak some state secrets out of the country between my butt cheeks. And trust me, my butt cheeks would be capable of housing state secrets of most of the continental European countries, I’ve got room.

I fully understand all these checks are necessary in the current climate, and that having to strip off, empty our bags and make do without lip gloss at hand is a small price to pay in the grand scheme of things, especially as the alternative could well be having you body parts scattered over several square kilometres of woodland area, state secrets, lip gloss and all. But surely a little sniff test amongst all this would be quite easy to arrange? I cannot tell you how many times I have suffered, sitting uncomfortably close to someone who had forgotten to shower before boarding. And a couple of days before that, actually. I remember one particularly painful flight from Dublin to Riga, sitting at my window seat (I always sit at the window as I mostly sleep on the plane and do not want to be bothered by people with tiny bladders) having to endure a couple, who clearly hadn’t showered and were also very excited about flying. They kept their thick winter coats on for the entire flight, sealing in the stench, only to release it every now and then by lifting an arm, or worse yet, to lean over me to look out the window!

I’m sure they were a lovely couple. They certainly seemed friendly enough when telling me in broken English how they’d been over to Dublin to visit their daughter who lived there. Whilst they were telling me this, I was busy holding my breath because they had not only forgotten to shower, but their teeth would have made the most seasoned of dental hygienists recoil in horror and seriously reconsider their career options. I shudder as I’m writing this.

Another time a man sat in front of me had such strong body odour, that every time he lifted his arms to adjust the air vent or switch his overhead light on or off, it made my eyes water.

A woman sitting beside me kept scratching her greasy hair for the entire flight, making it snow dandruff on my sleeve. Emerging from the plane I had to explain to Mr S why I looked like I had just walked sideways in a blizzard.

Maybe the metal detector gate we all must walk through could somehow incorporate a decontaminating shower? I’m sure that would help reduce the amount of airborne diseases being spread on flights, too. Think about it. Seriously. It would make life (and travel) so much more bearable. Or, alternatively, the passengers deemed nice-smelling and hygienic enough, would get an upgrade to business class. That would most certainly encourage people to shower. I’m writing a memo right now. Not to Ryanair, though. He’d only charge you.