Monday, 31 October 2011

And I’m in…

This weekend I moved in with JJ. Funnily enough it all went according to plan. We rented a van Friday morning that JJ was driving and returned this morning without a problem. The plan was to wait for his roommate to move out on Saturday and both of us move in that room. He took his time of course and he was out Saturday late in the afternoon leaving a very filthy room and bathroom behind him and lots of stuff that were his responsibility but we had to sort out.

Anyway, we did three trips between my old place and my new. We could have done less if we pushed it a bit, but there was no actual need to overstress ourselves. We made one journey a day. In between, we cleaned and painted the new room, washed the carpets, cleaned the bathroom, removed shelves, built furniture, move JJ’s stuff from downstairs upstairs and tidied things up. During these days we also paid a visit to IKEA, a local DIY store, a sofa store and the recycling center of the borough to get rid of old things and appliances no longer needed.

The result is outstanding though. I completely love the way the new bedroom looks like. It’s very cosy, inviting, ‘clean’ and tidy. I still have a couple of boxes to unpack and some clothes to sort out. I also need some time to get used to the new arrangement of things but I will be fine soon enough.

And this is only the beginning.

  This is how our room now looks like

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Last weekend…

Saturday was JJ’s last day of holiday and we decided to do something different than normal. That’s the good thing about London. It can provide so many great means to escape your everyday life. So, having a list of possible destinations we decided to visit Hampton Court Palace.

Hampton Court Palace was originally built for Cardinal Wolsey, a favourite of the King Henry VIII. However when the Cardinal fell from favour the palace was handed to the King. In case you’re not familiar with Henry VIII’s story I strongly suggest you do. His is a very interesting story. (That is if you are into this kind of things.) He is generally acknowledged to be a very charismatic, attractive, intelligent but at the same time notorious, vicious and very strong-minded person. He is mostly remembered for his role in reforming the State with separating the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church and for his many wives. Especially for the way he treated them and moved from one to the next in order to get a male heir.

These are some pictures I took during our visit. The palace and the surrounding gardens were very interesting to see. We were very lucky as well because of the beautiful weather.  I think we must have spent around 2.5 to 3 hours walking around, visiting the quarters and learning about the old days.

The palace 

Some residents

 The kitchen

The wine celar.

The courtyard

The inside

 The beautiful garden

The room overlooking the garden


During Sunday I started packing! Hooray!
I wasn’t looking to it to be honest. I didn’t know where to start. I want to go through most of my stuff and separate those which must be given to charity, recycled or simply thrown away. That procedure is time consuming but required so that I don’t carry my stuff to my new place to simply throw away later. I’m also taking my time to wrap everything properly so that to minimise the items that will come out of the boxes broken. That is why I needed to start early. Although I am pretty sure I’ll still have loads to do at the last minute.  

My room now is mostly occupied by boxes, piles and half full suitcases. I don’t have lots of room to manoeuvre and I keep on kicking a damn box I have next to my door. My toes are not that happy but all this is simply temporary. Next weekend a brand new life for me / us begins.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Status update…

 In a week time I’ll be packing my stuff to move to JJ’s house that will become our house. I can’t but feel excited and nervous about it. I haven’t started anything yet, but I have many lists in my head of what needs to be done, packed and when. We’ve booked a van and I say ‘we’ because he will be driving. I’ve also booked a day off work, next Friday. I need to take some days before the end of the year and with my Christmas holidays already booked; I thought it would be a good opportunity.

Without doubt, having a van means that we will pay a visit to IKEA. It’s a ritual now. Every time we have a car and some time, we always go to pay our respects. It’s funny how there is always something to buy there…

In preparation of the day, JJ decided to have a massive spring cleaning of the house (beginning of winter). So, he got dressed on his DIY clothes and got into work. He has some days off from work anyway, so he decided to use them by getting productive.

Of course during the last weekend I was able and glad to help him. Saturday morning we got dressed into clothes for the occasion (old, falling apart and ready to be discarded) and firstly visited the local DIY stores. We bought the paint and material we needed and we soon got into work. If you have never been to your local DIY store, you should. It’s an interesting experience for various reasons.

Anyway, the last weekend we finished the front wooden door (crimson red), entrance corridor (almond), one wall of the living room (passionfruit), changed the outside motion-enabled light, doorbell and filled some cracks on various walls. The colour of the living room looks nice. We did only one wall and the room looks cosy. The rest of the walls are covered by beige wallpaper. The name of the colour though is probably the gayest we could find: passionfruit.

That's the newly painted wall...

Tuesday, 18 October 2011


Fauja Singh was born in India in 1911. He was a farmer in the Punjab until he moved to Britain in the 1960s, already at his 50s. There are lots of things that are amazing about this man. First of foremost he is still alive and reached his 100th year. 11 years ago, when he was 89 years old, after his wife and son died, he decided to take on running! Yes, at 89!

Some years later, last week, he finished a marathon run in Toronto! He is the oldest man EVER to have done this at his age! I’m not sure what most (alive) people who are 100 years old do in their everyday life but they surely don’t run 10 miles a day training!

According to the article:
He puts his stamina down to ginger curry, tea and "being happy".
Mr Singh said: "The secret to a long and healthy life is to be stress-free. Be grateful for everything you have, stay away from people who are negative, stay smiling and keep running."

I will give ginger curry and tea some more credit but I’m not sure how easy it is to stay stress free! I wanted to add to this sentence ‘at the times we’re living in’ but this is all bull. Yes, there are problems like the recession and the environmental threat but you can’t claim that the times are generally worse than before. People during the cold war feared that the world would end with a nuclear blast and earlier there were quite a few World Wars to keep them occupied. There were always problems…

There’s a Greek expression which translates to ‘write them/him/her/it on your testicles’ which basically means ‘ignore them/him/her/it’. I’m not sure exactly how it started but it is widely used. The ‘testicles’ word can be ignored and people do say in a dismissing tone: ‘Just write him’ or ‘he has him written’. Mr Singh reminded me of this expression. Some things need to be written on our testicles to live a happier life…

So, Fauja did it when he was 100, what's your / my excuse?

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Me talk Pretty one day.

(In case you haven’t read the book, I highly recommend it. It’s very witty, easy to read and funny. I generally love Sedaris’ work.)

I was trying to read something (I’ll get back to that later) recently with no much of success and a story from when I first came to London came back to me. It was the very first week of classes and I was still trying to adapt to a very new and different environment. We had theoretical classes in the morning and practical classes in the afternoon at the computer rooms. The class was small. We were around 15 people overall, most of which were foreigners. I believe there were around 5 – 6 British people and everybody else came from a different country.

During one of these practical classes near the end of the first week, we were quietly working in the lab. After the first hour, a girl called ‘Elise’ stood up and started packing her stuff. I was a bit amazed that she was leaving so early since we had so much stuff to go through that I asked her about it surprised:

-Elise, are you leaving?

She started laughing her heart out loudly and she replied for everybody to hear:
-Yes, I’m still alive. It’s not like I’m dead yet!

That took me by surprise. Having a deep Greek accent of course my ‘leaving’ came out as ‘living’! I felt very embarrassed since I wanted to make a good impression to my new colleagues and now some of them were laughing at me. It was like a slap in the face. However, after feeling embarrassed I felt very angry at her behaving so childish. We were doing the same course and she found it difficult when it was at her own native language (bitch). Show me some respect! It took me a while however to give a presentation in the classroom without feeling extremely nervous about my English.

This story always comes back when I’m linguistically challenged.

Since I am a very serious book worm, I was reading the personal ads at the end of the GT magazine. Don’t ask me why exactly, but some of them are extremely hilarious like the one written by a wealthy 70 year old guy looking for a 18 – 25 male for friendship! Lol… Really? Because you’d have so much in common to share…

Anyway, have you read these ads recently? There are so many abbreviations that they are truly unreadable! OK, I can understand stuff like the ‘XL U’ (extra-large uncut), the LTR (long term relationship) or the ‘yo’ (years old) but what does these mean?

-CD (Compulsive disorder?)
-WE (well educated?)
-VWE (very well educated?)
-GSOH (gosh misspelled?)
-WLTM (white loving trash male?)
and last but not least:
-Convincing TV (what the f is that?)

Monday, 10 October 2011

The running bug…

First thing first, I think I’m absolutely rubbish at running. I used to be much better a couple of years ago when I first started but for some reason I am getting worse at it. When I say better, I don’t generally mean good, I mean better than I am now.

In winter 2009, I weighted around 4 – 5 kilos less than I am now and I used to run more frequent. I had already finished a 10k run for ‘Cancer Research UK’ the previous September (my first official run ever) and I wanted to take my running to the next level. So, I registered for the same charity to do half a marathon in Bath. You can read the whole story here. The race, the place and the weather were simply brilliant. I did the whole race without stopping once.

Since then, it’s all gone downhill. It could be the fact that I’ve hit the new decade mark, but I refuse to accept that it affects my physical status so quickly. Other things kept me busy like my studies and I stopped running so frequent. It’s easy to find excuses like that. I was trying to do long but fewer runs which apparently doesn’t work that well. Now, I’ve reached a point when I can’t do a 10k run without stopping a few times to catch my breath which is embarrassing to admit.

I’ve been visiting my gym frequently but without doing much of cardio. I did try some spinning classes but their timetable isn’t that convenient. That means that my legs are strong but not my heart and breathing. So, I fear that I can run faster than my cardiovascular system can handle. Does that make sense or am I talking completely rubbish? When I run my heart rate monitoring watch shows crazy numbers which aren’t that normal and I have to slow down or completely stop to stabilize them. I don’t want my heart t explode. Therefore, the problem I think is not my leg muscles…

Having a new job and moving houses I hope they will make my life somewhat more stable. That means that I’ll be able to concentrate on getting fitter. I’ll try to stop getting frustrated when I have to slow down but accept that I need time and effort to get back on shape. Very recently I’ve tried getting into the habit of running back home from work. It’s a very nice way to blow off steam and the distance is a somewhat respectable 6 – 7.5 miles depending on the route I follow. I have to keep my focus on that amazing feeling you get when you complete a run and ignore all the runners that pass me on the way making me look bad…

Friday, 7 October 2011

Silly morning questions

Today’s ‘dress down day’ at work. We don’t normally do it. Oh, no. We wouldn’t want to look human at all. We have to wear our uniforms, our suits, every day. However, today we have the ‘Jeans for genes’ day when with a small contribution to the charity, everybody can wear their jeans. It’s nice. It looks like a children’s party. I like it. Most people here do look as normal human beings.

I have to confess though that it took me much longer to figure out what to wear than the rest of the days. So, the uniform does have its advantages. I do blame the weather which turned for worse. It’s getting very cold again, the normal temperature for this time of year. However, lots of people are wearing t-shirts today. Why? Are they not cold? Is it me coming from a warmer background that is more sensitive to lower temperatures?

I’ve also noticed that the majority of people in t-shirts are wearing ‘Superdry’ t-shirts. How come? Is ‘superdry’ the ‘Ambercrombie’ of the straight people? I don’t think I own any Superdry clothes. For a gay person I am completely fashion-less. The first time I tried to visit their central store in ‘Seven Dials’ a couple of years ago, it was during summer sales. I innocently asked one of the saleswomen about whether they do sales. She gave me a harsh look, like I had tremendously offended her just by looking at her and replied: ‘We don’t do sales’. ‘Piss off’ was probably what she thought afterwards or at least this is how it felt. Needless to say I never visited that store again.

Changing the subject, I have another silly question. Yesterday after work I went to JJ’s for dinner (delicious by the way). In order to get there I need to take the tube and change a couple of times trains. Since it was during the evening rush hour and there were some delays on the service of some of the lines, the stations were packed! So, I arrived in the station where I should change trains and I waited patiently for the next train to arrive. The platform was simply heaving with people in work clothes and tourists. Most trains that arrived in the station were already packed, but the vast majority of people still tried to squeeze in! Why on Earth did they want to do that? I could see the passengers by the doors bent in weird and painful angles. However, the next train was two minutes away and the one after that, three minutes away! Were all of them really so much in a hurry that they couldn’t wait 2 to 3 minutes?

I waited for the third sequential train which arrived in 5 minutes and was less than half full. I didn’t find a seat but I wasn’t that bothered. I stood and read my book calmly until I reached my destination. I don’t understand how people get into that manic mentality and need to push other people aside in a tiny spot in a train barely having space to breath! For what? To save two minutes of theirs lives? Didn’t they have an already busy and tiring day at work to extend their frustration for a longer period of time?

Last but not least, when I move in with ‘JJ’ will I have to throw my porn collection away? You know, as a good will gesture to put my past behind. Not that I have any porn OF COURSE. I’m just saying…

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

5 on the Fifth

Welcome to the '5 on the fifth', a posting where you share 5 photographs taken on the days leading to the 5th of each month. It's organised by Stephen from 'The State of the Nation UK'. This month's theme is 'PLEASURE' and these are my photos.
Small items can help you find pleasure... A little imagination and a joyful attitude sometimes is needed...


a condom

some lube

a silk tie

a whip

Monday, 3 October 2011

It already started

This is officially the ‘moving together’ month. At the end of it, I will have packed my things and moved in with ‘JJ’ after kicking out his current housemate and leaving my poor current flatmate high and dry. Yes, we can be bitchy like that. Unfortunately they don’t like each other that much to move in together. ‘JJ’s housemate decided that he will buy a property in the near future so he’s moving back to his parents’ for a short while to gather some money. What’s really funny is the fact that his parents don’t want him back, but that’s a different long story. My flatmate decided that she will find a place of her own. Maybe I was too perfect of a flatmate to be replaced (or I damaged her that much).

When it comes to those new living arrangements there are many issues (maybe issues is a very harsh word) that I do not know where to start elaborating my thoughts. Let me start by repeating that I’ve never lived with a boyfriend before. That unknown element terrifies me to a degree. Being a worrying person I can’t help but think about all the things that can go wrong. There are so many what ifs that drive me crazy:
“What if he gets bored of me?” “What if I get bored of him?”
“What if we get into a stupid routine alienating each other?”
“What if my inexperience gets the worst of me and I do something stupid?”
“What if I start feeling trapped, feeling like I do not have enough space and I reacted stupidly?”
That last bit of possible lack of space is something I do think a lot. Since I haven’t lived with someone I’m not used of sharing my bed / room etc. every single day! Will it be an issue? Who knows?

On the same negative page is the issue I have with my parents. My mother has already reacted negatively to the prospect. She even mentioned that she’s terrified of even telling my father. That conversation didn’t go that well and I’m not looking forward to having it again. Of course I’m not going to lie to them or hide anything, I’m not 12 anymore. However, where I come from (yes, here I go again, don’t roll your eyes) moving in with someone is a much larger issue. Generally younger generations leave their parents’ house in most cases when it comes to get married. To
give you an idea, even my brother moving in with his girlfriend was an issue. Living with someone makes the relationship permanent and more serious to the older generations. I have a much thicker skin than before. I know the reasons of my choice and it is not negotiable. I will not be defensive. I do not care what the relatives will say or what their friends think. It just saddens me a bit nonetheless.

Is that a look of disapproval?

On the other positive and important hand, living with JJ is an adventure I am so looking forward to begin! I can’t help but feel very excited about it. I want to set a proper home with him. I want to spend more time in a house that will be our house. I want to feel that I belong to that place, with him. Fortunately, he is as excited.

Since yesterday, some first preparations have already begun to set the new foundations for our new house. JJ of course wants to make vast changes to it. If he could, he would demolish the whole place and rebuild it. Apart from some simple things like cleaning or repainting, he wants to change plumbing, insulations, wallpapers, electronics etc. I’m trying to keep him grounded and set some priorities according to our budget though.

So, yesterday he mentioned that it was time to get started. The month will pass without us noticing. So, we started by cleaning the back garden and painting the door and windows facing it. I put on his working clothes (I didn’t want to make my clothes dirty), made sure my hairy crack was visible as a proper technician and I got to work. I painted the back door! I know it’s not much but prior to yesterday I hadn’t done any DIY in years. I have to admit it’s very therapeutic even for half an hour’s work. Next step will be to paint one wall of the living room and the front door. I’m not Bob the Builder yet but I’m getting there.
Who said that geeks can’t get physical?