9 January 2011

Dear Sophisticated Ladies

Now imagine how alarming it would be to settle down for the evening to a La Plant special. I love drama and Ms La Plant is quite one of the most superb writers when it comes to suspense with a contemporary resonance ~ OK so far? Well so was I until the name of the lethal drug that was being illegally imported was the very same one I had in my hand. Yes the pain medication I so cutely call ‘my lollies’ are fentanyl.

I knew they were expensive because my GP, in a weak/rash moment, had mentioned the price to me. Apparently the Practice Manager had called in the prescription on seeing the cost associated with the transaction. There is a definite tension between GP’s and the hospital consultants who prescribe but don’t pay for the drugs. Hmm but, and please do correct me if I’m wrong, that’s what our taxes pay for; healthcare, education etc for the general populous i.e you and me.

To conclude this particular conversation I smiled sweetly and said (after the comment re: taxes) ‘and your point is?’ To which Mr Gorgeous (GP) responded ‘no if you need them, you need them’. His answer was the right one as I would have been gutted to have to regale the ladies in the changing rooms with anything that pushed him off the pedestal we have put him on! Collectively a quarter of the females in Barry/Vale will salivate at the mention of his name; we even refer to him as ‘the lovely Doctor’.

On the subject of loveliness I took advantage of the invitation to Open Rehearsal at the National Dance Company Wales to couple a catch up with former colleagues with a spot of continuing professional development (CPD). I may have mentioned before that I did ‘study’ ballroom dancing when I was a young teenager. And although I worked in and around dance from the business side I confess that I haven’t kept up to date with contemporary dance practice.

So after a coffee the Artistic Director/Chief Executive and I went into the Studio to watch the open rehearsal. The choreographer currently working with the Company is Spanish and speaks delightfully delicate broken English. I suspect he has luxurious bambi eyelashes through which he embarrassedly caresses the floor as he avoids eye contact… Oh forgive me I drifted off somewhere for a moment!

It was even sweeter as another dance member of the Company was watching his partner as she worked on her technique. I knew them both before they fell in ‘lurve’ and it is so utterly heart warming to see young people so genuinely wrapped up in each other. I am an old softy at heart even if I no longer wish to indulge in such matters myself. As I was discussing with a friend earlier today I just don’t rate men as a species ~ quite probably a character flaw on my part in case I have inadvertently offended any of us.

Earlier this week I saw, as I walked across Chapter cafe, someone I had what I suppose could be called a ’crush’ on. We had been introduced by a mutual friend and initially the signs were rather too positive (looking back on it now at least).  After the usual flirtatious notes, texts, emails etc I went to his house for dinner; yes he could cook, after a fashion – I seem to remember he was very proud of his roast potatoes!

Without going into gory details one thing led to another and before I knew it I had had an unplanned one night stand when all the promise turned into a trigger for him concluding he wasn’t ready! Ready for what I never quite understood despite receiving a long fountain pen scribed letter of explanation. A words man he may think he is but to a mere mortal his sentences are a little impenetrable!

The curious thing was later the same day I received an email from the friend who had introduced us saying his mother had died and he could do with the support of friends. She thought, wrongly, that I might like to send a card of condolence.  In Chapter he had been laughing conspiratorially with a small unremarkable woman ~ now I think of it he could just have been bending towards her because she was rather short. I think not somehow! Someone should tell him he needs a haircut before the funeral as he does look a tad unkempt at the moment.

Whilst shopping in Morrisons this week I happened to be reaching for the reduced fat fromage frais at the same time as an elderly man, (probably younger than my father who I funnily enough do not consider elderly at 82), was putting Benecol small bottles of magic in his trolley. I asked if it helped him jump out of tree and he laughed and said he could do with some of that. It was only later that I remembered Benecol reduces cholesterol and its Actimel that promotes vitality!

Morrisons has come up with one of the most useful credit crunch busting offers; kids eat free after school on weekday nights (as long as an adult meal is purchased of course). Now that does seem to make sense to me even as a childless spinster!

The Victorious Endeavours news I have for you ladies is threefold:

–          I have joined Twitter – find me @VictEnds

–          Salon 2011 – 2 dates secured

–          The WordPress blog is piloted at https://victoriousendeavours.wordpress.com/

I have decided to integrate my media and see where it takes me! Please do be kind to me as I am a vulnerable babe where technology is concerned so it may take me some time to really get the hang of it!

The Salon 2011 programme will be bimonthly starting in February with an extra one in March. I am delighted that ffresh (the restaurant at the WMC) has agreed to continue with the arrangement although we will be in a slightly different place (within the restaurant itself). The salon tickets including the two course supper, welcome drinks and coffee will be £25 per person.

The first one is 28 February 2011 6.15 pm for a prompt 6.30 pm start. Our guest will be the author Penny Simpson and publisher Gwen Davies. We will be discussing Penny’s new novel The Deer Wedding and what it takes to get published. More details to follow but please email me if you would like to come along.

The second on is on 21 March 2011, same time and same place, and is an extra one to celebrate the contribution that Fiona Allan, my co-host, has made to the WMC over the last 6 years. Fiona is leaving at the end of March to take up the post of Chief Executive at the Curve in Leicester. Fiona will talk about her career and how one approaches selecting product for an audience. Please do come along and pass the invitation to other equally sophisticated ladies who may know Fiona.

Further dates will be announced as I secure speakers. Thank you to those of you who have encouraged me to keep going with the missives and the Salons. I love doing Victorious Endeavours and knowing that so many of you enjoy the experience makes it all worthwhile!

Do have a look at the blog and give me (gentle) feedback. I want to keep it clean and sophisticated! I’m not sure it’s completely finished yet and certainly the wording across the photo will be redo as I hate the font! After trying to do it myself I went back to Roy Campbell-Moore who did the original work.

With both Twitter and the blog I will post things during the week. Eventually I would like to switch over to the blog from the weekly email but I know that some of you are not quite ready for that! To facilitate the process I will be getting a new mobile phone that allows me access to the internet without bankrupting me – safe to say I wasn‘t paying attention when my provider phoned me to offer an upgrade.

In the middle of all this madness I popped into the optician as I had been aware that an eye test was probably the way to work out if the reason I couldn’t read the subtitles (Wallander in Swedish) was as simple as needing new lenses. The alternative, without boring you too much, is that my optic neuritis (part of the gift of my MS) has become active again.

I have been a regular customer at a high profile High Street Optician to date. I have been largely satisfied with the service although the range of frames is a tad limited on the sophisticated front. So when walking past a small optician I had been meaning to go into for ages I thought I’d pop in. I was drawn in because I saw a young woman I recognised from my previous optician ~ she had obviously changed employers. I remembered her because she had once remarked that she knew how to spell my Christian name, Frances, because it was also her mother’s name.  For those of you who don’t know what I’m referring to it the use of ‘i’ for a man (Francis) and ‘e’ for a woman (Frances).

The young woman was busy with another customer so the male optician spoke to me and booked an appointment for later the same afternoon. I didn’t exactly take to him as there was something about his manner that made my skin crawl – do you know what I mean?

So I duly turned up later for the appointment; I had failed to clock the VERY steep flight of wood laminated stairs leading to the consulting room. All I could think was how narrow the individual stairs were and how likely it was that I could make a memorable exit!

The point of this entry is that the first thing the optician said to me was ‘we’ve got your last prescription from your previous optician’. I was gobsmacked. I said ‘shouldn’t you have asked my permission first?’ to which he responded that opticians have a professional arrangement and it made things easier for the customer.

So is nothing private? Confidential? We continued with the consultation during which he continued to irritate me as he was obviously more comfortable with a less informed customer who was prepared to laugh at his pathetic (sexist) jokes and kiss his (awful) shoes!! He couldn’t resist a little joke about once one reaches 40 then reading did become more difficult and I might have to slide my glasses down my nose to focus!

His trump card was to say that now my prescription had reached the magic number (-10) I was eligible for a free eye test and £30 towards new glasses! Ha Ha Ha! I have to go back this week to have drops that will dilate my pupils meaning I can’t drive there or back – the cost of the taxis will negate the free eye test – deep joy I can hardly contain myself!

So ladies I trust that your 2011 has started out favourably at least and hopefully rather better.  I leave you hoping you will join me for the Salons and advising you to only by reduce priced items from the fresh fruit/vegetable counters. I was evilly tempted by 6 mini (delicious) pork pies and German style lebkuchen – the words written on my kitchen board ‘CONTROL and RESOLVE’ (I kid you not) having no effect on this occasion!

But when I nearly had another accident with my new kitchen implements, (thank you Joseph Joseph),  juicing 12 limes, (reduced price and needing juicing), I began to question my credit crunch busting strategy! How long does lime juice last I wonder?

Yours in sophistication




Filed under Musings of a Contemporary Spinster

2 responses to “9 January 2011

  1. Sian Thomas

    Dearest Sophisticat, do i have to become a blogger to interact with you on here? 🙂

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