Saturday, July 26, 2008

Wecome to da hood

Our house move went as well as can be expected. Actually, that's not true, it went better than expected. I highly recommend using a company that packs your shit up for you - it really does remove a load of stress from what is a very stressful self inflicted experience.

The new hood is lovely - very leafy and green. We've swapped the sound of ambulance and police sirens for small yappy dogs and lawn mowers. There's also some building work going on next door, and in the evenings we're bathed in the aroma of eastern European cigarette smoke and folk music as the chaps take one last break before heading home.

The Finchley Road, our nearest high street, has an interesting collection of shops. There's the Russian deli with it's stuffed bear in the window and paint by numbers faux oil landscape paintings. The Thai massage place that has photos in the window of what looks like authentic massaging techniques, just in case people get the wrong idea. And an 'American-style' table dancing club. Oh yes, and a beauty salon that has the worst possible hand-painted sign outside. It features a man kissing a woman who resembles a blow-up doll. It would be artsy were it not so very badly executed. Truly the person who did it cannot paint and the resemblance to a sex toy is not an intentional creative call but the result of no talent. At all. I've seen better artwork by my seven-year-old nephew. As a result the place is always empty. I mean, what do they expect? Someone to walk in and say, "Yes please, I'd really like to look like the guy on your beautiful hand-painted sign out there and score myself a rubber date tonight."

As for the table dancing club, well, I'm not sure what the difference is between American and English table dancing, and Roberto says he has no idea. Naturally.

Our other high street is Hampstead Village. At any time of the day, the place is full of people having coffee (don't these people work?) and men who look homeless but on closer inspection (expensive shoes, leather thongs around their wrists), appear to be surviving 60's groupies or song writers. These guys wear sun glasses, have long grey hair and beards, and are inevitably talking on their mobile phones saying things like, 'But I own the rights maaan!"

Julia is enjoying having a garden. She especially delights in pulling flowers off of their stalks and eating grass. As in the domestic variety that grows on the ground and which dogs pee on. She's started pulling herself up into the standing position and I believe that once children do this, walking is not far off. This is good because I've been wondering who to send to get my Starbucks in the morning.

There's a particularly annoying ad on the TV at the moment. It's for Moonpig greeting cards, a service, when I have the time and inclination (read: never these days), I actually use. Basically you go online and personalise a clever greeting card and then send it on to friends or family. So yes, it's kinda fun and people are generally quite pleased with the result. The add however has an annoying woman's voiceover saying, 'Amaze your friends and family... ." I mean, don't they think the word 'amaze' is a bit strong? Who the hell gets amazed by greeting cards? Amused, yes, delighted, possibly, but amazed? It's the assumption that your friends and family are a bunch of sad eejits that don't get out much that really annoys me.

And last but certainly not least, congratulations to my sister and her husband on the birth of their baby girl Frances, and to my dear friends Theo and Lowri on the birth of their baby girl Anne. Lots and lots of girls this year - which, I have to say, is never a bad thing unless of course you're out on a Friday night in Chelsea trying to pull. Or so I'm told.

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