"S'London, innit ...." "Melbourne Life - by Fi (London, UK)

From the Web 1.0 days I bring you The Forum. To preserve them for posterity as Geocities can no longer be found but also it's fun to re-read some of them.


19th November, 2001

Hello amigos ...
Have left my flattie Hayden clearing up the remains of our bi-continental meal (tortillas and a cherry danish) and wrapped up in what he refers to as my "blanket" (its a pashmina ... ) and ventured down to the Internet caf, where despite the fact that it is about 2 degrees indoors, the room always smells of other people's sweat.

We're cohabiting, largely successfully in spite of an obvious fashion deficiency on Hayden's part, in North London ... most of the other residents in this area are Turkish or Afro-Caribbean which is making grocery shopping at my local Turk supermarket fun. The butchers, who used to merely whisper about me behind my back, have now taken to calling me 'Snow White' to my face. As in "noooo Snow White my darling we not have any tofu but some nice halal chicken Snow White you wannit and you wann my brother too?" Cue outrageous laughter from all 5 butchers.

Work-wise, the media pickings appear slim, so in the meantime I'm working as a secretarial temp in various National Health Service psychiatric wards. I feel I am well-qualified after spending 2 years on Wellington buses, 8 months on Melbourne trams, and 6 weeks riding the tube (where, incidentally, I have ALREADY managed to find myself in a shouting match with a little weasel in mustard-flecked polyester pants who tried his best to get into my satin-lined WOOL pants and then accused me of not responding to his advances because he was black ... clearly SOMEONE hadn't been checking out the latest winter fashions in Vogue ...)

Anyway ... I began my medical career 4 weeks ago in a clinic for anxiety disorders and trauma, where the highlights were dealing with the case of a young academic who was obsessed with symmetry, (couldn't wear stripes or checked fabrics because sometimes the patterns didn't match up on the seams, wanted plastic surgery to correct his assymetrical face, wondered why he didn't have a girlfriend. Maybe because the makers of Barbie haven't created her yet), and a woman who had a form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder whereby she was unable to look a man in the face. She was quite happy, however, to stare at their crotches, which limited her social and career prospects somewhat.

Spent a week in a Smoker's Clinic dishing out Nicorette to coughing people, then moved on to the Assessment Team at St Thomas' Hospital where I have a beautiful view of the rather grandiose parliament buildings across the Thames, but, in true NHS style, have to share my computer with SEVEN other people. It's the hardcore bonkers people in this clinic ... one man who lives in council housing in South London claims he is, in fact, an Arabic prince who keeps his "princely robes" under lock and key in his manor house in Kent - the one he commutes to each weekend in his private jet, which is capable of carrying 927 passengers and 5 missiles. I am sorely tempted some days to abandon my typing tray for the afternoon, burrow under my desk with a pile of case notes, and laugh my head off. In reality, though, despite my trivialisation of the job, it isn't all fun and games .. there have been some truly tragic cases over the last couple of weeks ... and the suicide rate among patients is high.

Other highlights of my time with the NHS include the staff cafetaria food, where the daily "healthy option" is usually some form of bean pattie, battered, and served with gravy ... and being locked inside the psych ward last Friday night. S'true ... I trotted off to the toilet to fix my makeup at the end of the day and came out to find myself caught, in the dark, between two locked doors INSIDE the ward. My movement set the alarms off and within, oh, about 15 minutes, two burly security guards were running down the corridor carrying restraints.

What else? Well, I have a new boyfriend. At the risk of writing this to a chorus of I-told-you-so's, he bears a rather striking resemblance to my OLD boyfriend. In fact, he IS my old boyfriend. Mac and I have rekindled and renegotiated and are back together. As my friend Sarah Graydon pointed out, we didn't really do a very good job of breaking up in the first place. We took the Eurostar over to Paris a few weekends back to splurge the remainder of our hard-earned Kiwi/Aussie cash on a British-style mini-break ... some of you will have heard the details already so I won't go into great depth ... suffice to say that we ate at swanky restaurants, saw some beautiful Picassos, spent hours in glamourous department stores, crashed Sunday mass at the Notre Dame, spoke as much 3rd Form French as we could remember, and had an amazing time. Sigh .... ;o)

Immediate plans involve going SOMEWHERE for Xmas/New Year (any ideas, you Northern Hemisphereans??), and a ski/snowboarding trip to Austria or France in late January (again, we're trying to get a group together so any takers please apply here ...) Hayden heads back to NZ for 6 weeks for Xmas, leaving on December 20th, so I also have a free, huge, furnished, and astoundingly cheap room going for that period of time if anybody knows of any takers.

I really do apologise to those of you I haven't managed to email individually for a while ... please don't hate me for it! Look forward to seeing some of you over this way soon ...

much love,


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