and they’re up!

By amy ~ April 21st, 2024 @ 6:36 pm No Comments »

After a lot of faff and fanfare, a couple of aborted attempts and even this last successful try almost coming to grief too upon the discovery that the phone-holding bit attached to my ancient tripod has had a fairly crucial component snapped off somewhere along the line, there are new pictures!

As someone who loathes having a camera pointed anywhere in their general direction more than almost anything else (to the extent that if somebody is taking photos in public the most they’ll get is my back while I walk swiftly in the opposite direction), I consider this a done deal now for a good long while. A few new backdrops (which will look familiar to some already) make life a lot easier, but Christ, it’s one of the few parts of my jobs that is a real chore and one I’m in no rush to repeat.

By way of making my different strokes for different folks point, this last weekend I have also finished all my accounts for the last year and even more enjoyably, built my new spreadsheets for the next – yay! With the admin almost out of way and the weather definitely on the up, the opportunity to get out and about has been grabbed with both hands, and I spent a lively hour with the London Symphony Orchestra over at the Barbican the other evening (a seat for the Half Six Fix on a Wednesday can be had for £10 and I was out, over to Waitrose and home again in time for dinner) plus time beforehand for a look at Purple Hibiscus, where the lakeside bit of the Barbican Centre has been wrapped in handwoven purple fabric and embroidered garments from Ghana. It’s sadly not permanent, but will be cheering the place up until August.

Unfortunately I also went to see the Amy Winehouse biopic, against my better judgement. My better judgement (as always) was right all along and I left in a foul mood until I happened across a pack of cinnamon rolls that I’d bought in the yellow sticker and forgotten about, and all was right with the world once again. Seriously though, just don’t; go and see Civil War instead (or don’t go at all). OR, continue the 90’s nostalgia with a bit of Portishead! The Barbican cinema is screening Live at Rosedale NYC in a couple of weeks and I will be there, quite possibly with some more cinnamon rolls. I’ll likely forgo them for Cypress Hill in July, mind.

In other news, and as the eagle-eyed may have noticed from the pictures, my old glasses are back! Actually not quite – I am currently navigating the new world of varifocals and have so far managed to successfully do the grocery shopping without breaking every bone in my body, but not a great deal else. Unfortunately while the reading part is fabulous the distance vision is crap, and since I’m getting tired of flagging down the wrong bus I may be heading back to the opticians for a tune up assuming I can remain in one piece for long enough to get to Covent Garden. Leaving the actual need to be able to see properly aside, I’m still very glad to be back in my proper frames. I missed them.

Back to this week, and it’s business as usual from Tuesday – it’s a busy time of year, so try to book a day ahead if you can! I don’t like having to turn away anybody who texts after 12 noon any more than those texting like me doing so, but at the moment it’s pretty much par for the course. My days and hours are right there on the site as ever, so lets hope the weather holds too!

I couldn’t mention Portishead at Rosedale without including at least a bit of it. Song of the Week is such a favourite of mine it has never made it onto a work playlist yet (there’s common sense in there somewhere), and seeing it on the big screen next month – with or without pastries – will be a very rare joy.

More soon! Time to try and make dinner without burning down the building or any trips to A&E. Fingers crossed.

happy easter!

By amy ~ March 29th, 2024 @ 6:10 pm 1 Comment »

Easter is here, and a four day weekend! I’ll keep this one fairly brief after the behemoth of last week, as time is ticking.

The current Bank Holiday plan (as ever) means having more to do than any normal work day, that being finishing the decorating, putting up shelves and assembling a flat pack, hanging some pictures and cooking an Easter dinner at some point, as well as nipping into town for an (overdue) eye test and possibly a film or two at the Prince Charles while I’m there. My favourite of last years’ London Film Festival Late Night With The Devil is finally among us; a must-see for any religious holiday, (and pretty much any other day too!)

A festive trip to Aldi in anticipation has taken place (if nothing else they have the best chocolate) and my phone will be off until Tuesday morning; anybody wanting to book then would be well advised to get in early on the day, although I may look at it briefly on Monday afternoon in between chocolate and leftover lamb pittas. If you’ve texted and I haven’t answered, that’s why (not to mention being up a ladder for most of the day), but I will be here next Saturday to make up for it before heading over to ExCel for the supremely serious business of the 2024 Pokémon Europe International Championships on Sunday – battle commencing time TBC. Wish me luck!

In other news, and after an hour in the Royal Albert Hall online waiting room followed by another hour in the online queue, I managed to get a ticket for Cypress Hill with the London Symphony Orchestra in July – yay! The seat is admittedly not what I’d hoped for, but nobody is in front of me and they sold out so quickly I’m counting myself lucky to have got anything at all; a look at Viagogo this morning showed some fairly unremarkable spots being touted on at £200+, so my modest £79 outlay is looking like a bargain. Now all I have to do is find how to get to the Royal Albert Hall since in sixteen years of working in London (and twenty+ of spending whatever downtime I could afford here) I don’t believe I’ve ever been, although my memory is crap and I’m prepared to be corrected.

On with the R&R for now then, and a slight segue for Song Of The Week – I had Cypress Hill at Christmas so couldn’t really pick another one, and a root through the samples is never a bad idea anyway. Happy Easter everybody!

More soon…

fifty eight days later…

By amy ~ March 19th, 2024 @ 11:12 am No Comments »

A few weeks on, and everything is steadily returning to normal, the unpacking is just about done with (and is gradually morphing into the being-terrified-things-I-can’t-find-have-got-lost; my clothes brush is currently number one on the list) and we’re even come out the other side of Oscars night again!

Even though I have little time – in theory – for the organisation that completely overlooked Midsommar and Uncut Gems and favoured Forrest Gump over Pulp Fiction, I just about succeeded in my mission to see all the Best Film nominees in time for the ceremony, admittedly bar the handful you couldn’t pay me to sit through (Oppenheimer, Poor Things, Maestro), so not an entirely fair and objective undertaking. I did get through American Fiction, Zone Of Interest, Anatomy Of A Fall, Past Lives and Killers Of The Flower Moon as well as Barbie, which seems like eons ago now but was well worth another watch as a reminder.

I left Killers Of The Flower Moon not just until the last minute (eminently doable with a cinema fewer than five minutes’ walk away), but late enough that I walked back through my door fifteen minutes after the ITV coverage started – three and a half hours of film immediately followed by three and a half hours of TV was punishing stuff indeed (and it’s no wonder my eyesight is so terrible), but it was worth it to see Godzilla Minus One get the visual effects award, not to mention the Kens all back together – yay! I did wonder whether I’d inadvertently nodded off when Slash from Guns & Roses appeared.

The new-venue nerves are thankfully settling down, and it’s all getting very much back to normal which is a relief for the stress levels, as is the slowing down of the new-venue purchases and the subsequent effect on the credit card bill. I remember moving into my fully furnished Monument flat costing me just under £2K in stuff I didn’t have, so given that I have bought paint, pictures, new lights, curtains and curtain poles, shelving and a new mattress (amongst other things), the AMEX has taken something of a kicking.

For anybody who wants to know, possibly the best thing I’ve bought this time is the IKEA garlic press at £3.50 – a gamechanger equal only to the little non stick frying pan that cost about seven quid – and the giant sea urchin-esque light shade which took me ten minutes to build, and over an hour to find a ceiling light it would fit on. The fourth and final (for now) descaling of the kettle has also taken place; a sentence I was starting to think I would never type, but I suspect its capacity has probably increased by half a litre at least. An honorary mention too for the Hello Klean shower head, even if the spelling makes my eyes hurt.

In between decorating, unpacking, rewiring light fittings, moving pictures around and scrubbing limescale off everything in sight I have found time to get over to the BFI for Mark Kermode in 3D, which I got a ticket to after noticing it was at the IMAX while NFT1 is being faffed about with; the last time I was in the IMAX being when I went to see Jaws last summer (I think), and both that time and this I was filled with smug self regard after finding the entrance on the first attempt. I have spent a Sunday afternoon sitting amongst the cacti and orchids in the Barbican Conservatory, had a nice walk down to Paternoster Square to see the baby animal bronzes and read my library book in the fresh air, and wandered over to Smithfield to have a nose at how the museum move is coming along; I will be roughly ten minutes’ walk away when it opens (hopefully at least, and providing all continues as planned).

The next couple of weeks sees Easter creeping up earlier than usual plus the clocks going forward – a combination of hot cross buns, large dinners, Bank Holiday films and decorating jobs is planned and my phone will be off from Thursday evening onwards. The other main job planned for the weekend is to finally get some new photos sorted, a job which was actually planned for last weekend until I realised that I’d taken suitcases full of potential things to wear back up to my Scarborough flat months ago so I had less to move, and I haven’t brought them back. Duh.

There can only be one Song of the Week, and I am ashamed to admit how many times I’ve watched this on Youtube. It’s a pity nobody has lighters any more.

Easter update soon! I’ll also take this chance to apologise for my sometimes hit-and-miss final directions over the last few weeks as I’m still learning the surrounding street names, but to be fair if you went to the location you were asked to in the first place so I knew where you were rather than calling from two streets away in an unknown direction, I’d make a much better job of them. Just a thought.

back to square one…

By amy ~ February 11th, 2024 @ 8:31 pm 1 Comment »

So after four (mostly happy, if expensive) years, last week saw me close the door to my Monument flat for the final time, although to be fair I haven’t been living in it for almost a month.

It had it’s faults – greedy bastard landlords, an awful heating and hot water system, view of a brick wall – but handing back the keys on my first London home was still a bit of a wrench, not least because moving house is absolutely fucking awful. Plus it was very handy for Assenheims.

However, the worst of the moving nightmare is now well behind me (fingers crossed) and what we do now have is a new location not too far away, limitless heating and hot water and a flat that couldn’t be more different – yay! All I need to do is pull my finger out and get back to a normal work routine, not to mention another go at some pictures now I have a few more backdrops to choose from. Hopefully both will be this week – there is still a fair bit to do, but in my (considerable) experience most visitors don’t really care if the place has piles of stuff everywhere a few boxes kicking about and the only person who does is me.

The all-consuming terror of starting work in an unfamiliar set up is not to be underestimated – even back in the hotel days a new venue was stress personified right up until the first booking, and I will be going cautiously for the first few weeks for the sake of my sanity, if nothing else. That feeling that everybody within a quarter mile knows exactly what you’re doing is not fun, but just like the mess it goes away and (depending on who’s visiting) generally sooner rather than later.

Meanwhile, I have been exploring my new neighbourhood! This has included joining the Barbican (which to be fair, I’ve been meaning to do for years), finding the recycling centre, the Post Office and the Aldi (praise be!) and chasing a few pokémons around Bunhill Fields. I have also found Whitecross Street Market, where I plan to spend a few quid on lunches when I don’t have much on in the afternoon, and discovered that I can be on the Elizabeth Line in nine minutes from standing outside my flat door, which is handy to say the least.

As the above suggests, incalls are being limited to fairly low numbers for a while so that everybody (me) can find their feet, get used to the directions and generally calm down – this doesn’t mean any real difference to the booking process for most, but if the sort of text you generally send doesn’t result in an answer, it’s got even less chance now. Just try to sound like a sensible adult who read (at least some of) the site and everybody gets what they want.

All in all it’s settling down, and even the decorating has been fun after years of not being allowed to do any. Cue a classic Song of the Week straight from my painting playlist!

More soon! The boxes of oddbod bits I don’t know what to do with but don’t want to throw away won’t sort themselves…

Further Reading

and they’re up!

happy easter!

fifty eight days later…

back to square one…


the end of no man’s land…

merry christmas to everyone…

not long now…

five gold rings…

I went, I saw and I conquered!

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