Posted by: tabliope | November 26, 2017

To sleep perchance to dream

Since I was in my early forties I’ve gone through periods of struggling with sleep. Usually I have little problem getting to sleep but I can wake up at about 2.00am and can often lie there for up to two hours going through the things that drift through your mind in the middle of the night.  Sometimes I’ll get up and I see through the bathroom window a few lights on in some of the houses around us and wonder what’s keeping them awake, or have they simply forgotten to switch a light off.

The paradox to this is that when I do sleep, I sleep heavily and I have been known to snore; I have on occasion snored so loudly that I’ve woken myself up. Once I woke myself up laughing at a joke that I heard in a dream but I couldn’t remember the joke. Last night I was awake and wrote the perfect blog post while waiting for sleep to come. This isn’t it.



Posted by: tabliope | November 25, 2017

On this day

Thanks to Facebook I know that it was four years ago today that the movers started packing us up in Athens for us to come back to the UK. It will take us two days to pack up the contents of your apartment they told me. No it won’t I thought because I’ve done this before and the movers always pack it in one day and then they load on the second. I made the mistake of asking why – because it takes two days – Demetria, the coordinator, wasn’t one to waste time explaining anything because she was there to do it all, you don’t worry and despite me wandering around behind her saying but why 2 days, why why why like a persistent three-year-old she wasn’t budging.

I made frequent trips to Zillions my favourite coffee shop because Demetria was giving off strong vibes that I was in her way and the way of her team of packers. When I came back after the second trip I realised why it was going to take two days. They were literally packing everything; because of some weird customs ruling anything coming back into the UK from Greece had to be wrapped.

We spent the next 16 nights in various hotels and a holiday apartment with a suitcase each while the rest of our wordly goods were transported across Europe in the back of a truck. There’s something both liberating and nerve-wracking about not being entirely sure about where most of your belongings are; no matter how often I reminded myself that they’re only things I would still lie awake wondering if everything was safe. Then I’d have the fantasy about it all going missing and starting all over again. Apart from the nightmare of claiming on the insurance it might have been fun, although perhaps I say that in the safety of sitting here with all my things around me.


Posted by: tabliope | November 24, 2017

A compendium

Today I was described as the lady who wears lovely scarves. At least I wasn’t described as that difficult woman.

After surviving for 23 days or so in my blog I had hoped this might encourage some others into a revival. You know who you are.

Twenty years ago I was delighted by the absolute, comprehensive electoral win by the Labour Party; this year I joined the Green Party.  Over the last few years I’ve become more and more jaded by politics and politicians, yet knowing that we need to keep alert to what they’re up to because their posturing and jockeying for position ends up affecting us more than them. Boris anyone?

It was a slow burn to me joining the Greens; I’d met a few members during the whole Brexit fiasco and put my name down to deliver some leaflets for them and said that I’d be happy to help out where I could. Early one morning I got a phone call from their co-ordinator for the local elections saying he had a huge favour to ask me. There was shortly going to be a big campaign in the ward that I live in and about 20 people would be coming to the town to help with it. I knew that he was going to ask me to go out and knock on doors and I was just rehearsing the whole no, I really can’t do that, but thanks for asking. Instead he asked me if they could use my house to meet up in and use as mission control. I was so grateful that I wasn’t being asked to go door knocking that not only did I agree to this I also cooked vegetarian food for 20 people. They continued to use the house for the local election campaign and I became more creative with the veggie food and even went as far as making sure there was always a vegan option on offer. We won the local council seat and it was great to be on the winning side again. I think I’ll have to wait a long time before we’re forming a government though.  But I’ll be there with my veggie curries.


Posted by: tabliope | November 23, 2017

Be thankful

If we celebrated Thanksgiving in the UK, and it’s surely only a matter of time given how enthusiastically we’ve adopted Black Friday, then I would be giving thanks for not having to eat pumpkin pie. I know that being British and knocking another country’s favourite food is asking for trouble because they’re going to remind me of Christmas cake, Christmas pudding, mince pies and parsnips but they’re still not pumpkin pie.

When we were in Athens we had an amazing supper club which had a few American members and in November they hosted a Thanksgiving Dinner. By the time dessert appeared, the famous pumpkin pies, the American contingent’s excitement was at defcon 1 and I couldn’t wait to see how they were going to turn a pumpkin into a gorgeous and interesting dessert.  Dear reader, they didn’t; instead I was presented with orange sludge in a pastry case and to this day I remain baffled by the idea of pumpkin pie.

But if we did celebrate Thanksgiving in the UK I imagine that our meal of choice would now be a Marks and Spencer Dine In offer or a curry from the local takeaway. However, if people like old Farage get their way I imagine that we’ll be celebrating out own independence day with pork pies, tea and lashings of warm beer.

Posted by: tabliope | November 22, 2017


I was thinking about words I particularly like.

Parlour ;Nebelmeer (cloud sea – German); Honeymoon (I also like the German word Flitterwochen); Insouciance (I think Belgian Waffle uses that a lot); Propinquity; Melody; Catharsis; Caress; Serendipitous; Hegemony; Lobelia; Poise

I feel my vocabulary has become dull or perhaps it’s my conversation and I might need to brighten them both up.


Posted by: tabliope | November 21, 2017

A couple of mornings a week I volunteer in a charity bookshop. It’s good fun; we have nice customers, ever-changing stock and the people I work with are interesting.  People donate books to us for all sorts of reasons: house clearances after someone has died is often difficult for everyone because we’re reassuring a bereaved person that we really want some very tatty old bits and pieces and they’re not sure that they should be getting rid of them. In many cases we’re often the conduit for the recycling centre but just now and again there’s a little gem in the junk.


Jamie Oliver books come through our shop with monotonous regularity along with Nigella and Delia whereas I have never seen an Ottolenghi book in our shop. I think people buy the Jamie et al as gifts to someone who either never cooks or has better taste than that. Jamie was great back in 1995 as was Nigella but they need to leave the field now.

We receive more Lee Child and John Grisham books than you could possibly imagine but they remain constantly good sellers. We very rarely get Harry Potter books but when we do they sell almost immediately whereas her adult novels arrive in bulk and don’t sell well.

What does give me pause for thought are the books with some sort of dedication suggesting how much the recipient should enjoy it and quite often it looks pristine and unread. One of my great pleasures is buying books for other people but maybe I should stop.

Posted by: tabliope | November 20, 2017

Black Friday

Evidently Black Friday deals aren’t all that they seem according to Which magazine and repeated by the BBC because they seem to think it’s a slow news day in the business section.  At this rate I’m expecting the religious affairs section to confirm later today that the Pope is indeed Catholic and that may stir the natural history section to investigate the habits of bears in the woods.

I was going to write something about our wholesale adoption of Black Friday but I can’t be bothered.

Posted by: tabliope | November 19, 2017


Sometimes I really don’t think it will happen (I like my head lying right here in the sand, okay?) but we’ll just be limping along with excuses as to why it’s not happening rather than actually putting the whole thing back to the people saying Look, we get that things haven’t been great but this is how much less great they will be if you continue on this suicidal mission of leaving the EU. 

But apart from that my condensed Brexit shit list is as follows:

  1. David Cameron for calling the thing in the first place
  2. David Cameron for not making it clear that it was an advisory referendum and that it didn’t mean we were going to jump off the cliff together while singing Land of Hope and bloody Glory
  3. David Cameron for resigning like the great big coward that he is.  I was so distressed by the Brexit result I got no pleasure from a Tory PM resigning which just made me sadder.
  4. Jeremy Corbyn for not standing up for Remain
  5. Jeremy Corbyn for not being prepared to stand with people he might not agree with, have nothing in common with other than Remain being better for Britain. I get that it’s pretty nasty swimming in that piss-ridden pool with people you despise but it was for something important. For goodness sake I had to agree with David Cameron so often my head was spinning.
  6. Jeremy Corbyn for saying the people have spoken. No Jezzer, 51.8% of the people spoke one way and a whole load of us spoke the other way.
  7. Those idiots who said that they only voted Brexit as a two-fingered salute to the Tories
  8. Those idiots who didn’t think that their vote would count.
  9. Gove, Boris, Farage and that bus.
  10. Theresa May. She had no right to sign article 50 just before calling a snap election.
Posted by: tabliope | November 18, 2017

Minor irritants

These signs are multiplying, as are these. I don’t approve.

Posted by: tabliope | November 17, 2017

There’s an unwritten rule on the etiquette of changing hairdressers; it’s fine to leave the salon and go somewhere else without having to fake your own death to do it. Just don’t make a big song and dance about it and hope that you never, ever have to meet your previous hairdresser in a social situation. What you can’t do, ever, is go to another hairdresser in the same salon. You just can’t do it. No, I don’t know why not, but you need to trust me on this one. Don’t do it. The only way you break up with your hairdresser is by leaving properly.

When I moved here I found a hairdresser who was fine, nothing too interesting but she did a good cut and I was never unhappy when I left the salon but she wasn’t exciting. After I’d been going there for a while I realised that she had a colleague who did amazing things with hair and he would make suggestions to people about what they could have done. He complimented all his clients and made them feel really good about themselves. My hairdresser continued to give me a good cut which was the same cut I’d had 1000 times and would moan about whatever her boyfriend had or hadn’t done. I’d ask her when her days off were but that didn’t work because she and and the hairdresser I craved took the same days off. They’re good friends and he probably wouldn’t even take me on as a client anyway, I reasoned.

Then one day she stopped moaning about her boyfriend and told me that she was pregnant and would have to go on maternity leave. I was so excited I almost knocked her over and I’m sure she still thinks that I was completely mad to be so excited about someone else’s pregnancy. But maternity leave meant that I could legitimately have another hairdresser.  When I saw him last I told him that I would prefer to stay with him when the other hairdresser came back from maternity leave and he told me that he’d already told her that he was keeping me because I have such wonderful hair. I told you he was good, didn’t I?

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