Friday, 24 September 2010

Friday Fashion Fix

It's been quite a while since I've done a 'fashion fix' - mainly because I haven't been able to bring myself to look at any clothes, or even shoes, in my current state. However, with just a month to go now, I'm in the home straight and already thinking about all the delightful things I can wear over Christmas (assuming, of course, that I instantly lose all the baby weight, and actually lose some pre-pregnancy weight too. Well, it is the season of dreams and all that).

This 'colour of the season' camel jumper from Zara is cosy and, at £39.99, a much cheaper alternative to the Chanel versions on the London Fashion Week catwalk.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

The Key, The Secret

Yesterday, total disaster struck Martini Towers. Yes, you'd be forgiven for thinking that nothing could be worse than clothes gate, but Mr. Martini decided that he'd put that theory to the test.

I was in our study, minding my own business and going through some email. Mr. Martini lets himself in and shouts up the stairs "I need your help now. There's been a disaster."

Surely it can't be that bad? Wrong. Somehow, in his haste, Mr. Martini has lost the car key. Worse, he thinks he has thrown it in one of the communal rubbish bins - the sort that have lids and that are so big, you can climb in them (yes, that's experience talking. Patience). Even worse than that, he's left the car parked in the very obviously marked 'NO PARKING' area with the windows open, the hazard lights on and the alarm activated. Brilliant. And, do you want to know the best bit? We don't have a spare key. Fantastic.

What do you do in this situation? Well, obviously, a frantic search ensued - which did include a thorough search of various rubbish bins. Revolting, but necessary. I watched, but did not participate, I hasten to add. Not in my condition. Three hours of searching later, still no key.

Okay, next step. Call locksmiths. This was not a joyous experience. All said the same thing. Given the age of the car (it's ten years old) we have to go to Mercedes directly. It's too old to be compatible with their computers. I was tempted to ask how car thieves overcome this issue, but restrained myself.

So, call Mercedes. Our closest garage is, unfortunately, Chelsea - so not a cheap option. But we're getting desperate. I can almost smell the car clampers getting ready to pounce. After speaking to about 17 helpful assistants, I am finally told that we can order a new key, but it needs to be made in Germany (again, because of the age of the car) and will take about ten days to arrive. Call me a cynic, but I don't think that's going to cut any ice with Southwark Council. However, as it starts to get dark, I'm thinking that having the car impounded will probably ensure it's safety more than leaving it out in the car park with the windows open. However, I'm not sure how long they'd keep it before crushing it.

All in all, none of the options are appealing. We decide that we have to try and move the car into a proper car parking space, so we open the doors and set the alarm off. It continues to go off intermittently until Mr. Martini call rip up all the electrics (under the driver seat) to try and pull out the right fuse. This just gets better and better. He then tries to steer it over to a  parking spot. Unfortunately, Mercedes are on top of this sort of thing, and a wheel lock kicks in, almost forcing the car into a brick wall.

By this point, I'm almost wishing someone would come and steal the car - it would solve a lot of problems. And ensure the neighbours don't start throwing eggs at us for creating such disruption. The only option is to call the AA and ask how much it will cost to come and rescue the car and take it to a safe location - namely, my parents, out in the suburbs. It's not cheap (they have to pick up the car and lift it onto the tow truck) but it's the only solution. I call my parents to warn them we're on our way. 

"No problem," my mum says, "but why don't we just run the spare key up to you now and save you the fee?"

SPARE KEY? SPARE KEY? They've had one this whole time and we didn't know??? Mr. Martini has never been so relieved in his entire life. So, not a complete disaster - although we're still recovering from the in-depth analysis performed on the local rubbish bins. And yes, another key is on it's way over from Germany. Natürlich.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Southwark Council - the pride of London

I dread this time of year. As the beginning of September looms, I have to grit my teeth and prepare to do battle - yes, it's the time of year I have to renew our parking permit. Never, in the whole history of the world, has anything been as problematic and traumatic on such a regular basis. 

The timing is crucial. The MOT has to be complete and the insurance validated for another year - only then can you apply for the permit. But these documents alone aren't enough. Oh no. I've learnt from past experience. No matter what you take, it's not enough. This year, I took:
  • My birth certificate
  • My marriage certificate (because, despite several letters to the council, they have failed to update our records to reflect my married name)
  • My passport
  • My driving licence
  • The log book for the car
  • My council tax book
After making the submission, I waited with bated breath for the inevitable call. Yesterday, it comes. "Hello, it's Michelle from the One Stop Shop. (I'd also like to point out there's nothing 'one stop' about it. You have to visit two sites to get parking permits - surely defeating the whole purpose of the name. But I digress.) Unfortunately, your log book shows the car is registered somewhere else, so we can't process your application. Sorry about that."

Every year, it's the same. Every year, I give them the previous year's permit number, to prove that they can, in fact, give out a permit for a company car, providing the insurance is in my name. Every year, they won't process it without a fight. And it's inspired. You can't call the very helpful One Stop Shop - you have to go in (open 9.30 until 4.30 - very helpful. I may actually apply for a job here, because it's the best working hours for employees I've come across). And even then, it's a total bloody nightmare. I have yet to obtain a parking permit without at least three separate trips to the One Stop Shop. One Stop my eye. 

There is only one solution to this problem. We have to move. Seriously, we had better not be in Southwark by next September. I have officially reached the end of the road with this process.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Keeping up-to-date

I knew that I hadn't blogged for a while, but I cannot believe the last time was 13 August. That's appalling. I have been ridiculously busy, but given that I'm no longer working, I don't think this is a very reasonable excuse. It's amazing how stopping suddenly makes you more tired. So, a quick re-cap on what's been happening:

1. I have been diagnosed with Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction - SPD for ease. It's basically pain in your pelvis, and it bloody hurts. There's no real way to treat it, although I am seeing a specialist next week to get a very attractive belt to help hold things in place. Lovely. Also, as an extra kicker, there's a possibility I'll end up on crutches before the end of the pregnancy. Lovely again. 

2. I've got anemia. I'm prone to it in normal life anyway, so it's not exactly a shock, but I do love rattling around like a pill box. Not.

3. I have finished knitting my first proper garment - a jumper for baby Martini (soon to be renamed). It's not brilliant and it's full of mistakes, but I feel very proud of my efforts. For a first attempt, I reckon it's not a total embarrassment. See for yourself:

4. Mr. Martini and I have booked a get away to Bath. It's only two days but Baby Martini will be staying with his grandparents, so it will be a proper rest. Hopefully. I do remember that the only other time we went away childless (to a friend's wedding) our eagerly awaited lie-in lasted until an embarrassingly early 8am. The shame.

5. I am almost ready to kick off my freelancing career. I have a couple of meetings later this week, so stay tuned - there's a distinct possibility I could become a company owner before the week is out!