Monday, 14 March 2011

Exhaustion thy name is Full Time Work

I am zonked. I should be in bed right now and know I will regret it in the morning but I've just finished up the last of my NPG work and LB is cooking us a late light dinner while I fight the urge to rest my head on the keyboard.

So anyway, grown up, full-time work. Well, so far so good. I'm still feeling overwhelmed but overwhelmed in the face of minor progress so I count that as a plus and, apart from the realisation that regular employment is a source of massive time suckage and I already miss the hours I once had to do whatever it was I did when I had them, I'm feeling really pretty happy. Exhausted, but happy.

My last day at the NPG is tomorrow. Talk about a milestone. Who would have thought all those many, many months ago that I would be sitting here, post-50,000 words and 12 months of invaluable experience and research, with a book on its way with my name in it somewhere. Last week on my way into the gallery my eye was caught by one of the posters promoting the latest exhibition, on Hoppe's street and society portraiture. I haven't seen the exhibition yet but someone clearly loved it.

Look closer...

Hilarious, right? If not a little unsanitary....

I'm going to miss going into the NPG every week but the reality is, one less thing to choke my week the better. I had a solid day at the SLG last Thursday (are we loving the new acronyms in my life btw?) before heading to the bar for my last shift there for the foreseeable future. It was a very long 17 hour day so again, good to be simplifying things and crossing extraneous responsibilities off my list. Apart from anything else, my current fix for tiredness is sugar and god help me if I find myself eating my way back into my size 14 jeans. Lately, I've been having a serious relationship with hot cross buns. Easter is still over a month away but why would the good supermarket retailers of the world let that stop them selling carby, fruity goodness that was just born to be friends with a slab of butter. My not so secret secret love affair with the hot cross exploded yesterday when LB decided to try making some from scratch. The results prompted a groan simultaneously happy and panicked. I may have to go cold turkey - as in give up, not change food groups - but I'm not ready to just yet. Plus giving up now would be an insult to LB's impressive efforts.

Yesterday was otherwise rather uneventful, notwithstanding the bakery and a small war of the sexes and a round of cheap point scoring over the traditions of marriage (to change a name or, as it might be, not change a name...) and the brutal unfairness of biology when it comes to Concessions of the Female Sex Made Generally In Life.

Thankfully we've recovered from that little disaster, or at least perhaps plotted a safe route through the minefields of expectation and personal philosophy for future reference but there is nothing about an awkward, alcoholically dampened conversation that can't be fixed with food.

Having totally mucked up this morning and not set the alarm correctly to ensure a timely and lovely brunch with Tor, LB and I eventually got our act together and at my behest, we headed for Vietnamese in Soho, specifically to a little place called Nam on Dean St that makes fresh summer rolls to die for and a pho laden so with tender beef and crunchy vege goodness that it makes you, me, sigh.

Sated, we then wandered in the direction of Chinatown so LB could buy some dumplings. I think these Asian groceries are incredible - I have no idea what you're meant to do with 98% of the things on offer but anything you can imagine and everything you can't pronounce is in here. It's the food equivalent of an exotic zoo.

Circumnavigating Trafalgar Square, with its hoards of drunken Irish celebrating St Patricks Day by wearing green felt hats and drinking cheap beer from cans before tossing them onto the steps of the National Gallery (they even had security guards stationed permanently in the fountains to stop any fanciful swimmers), we decided to head to Victoria to catch the tube via a wander down Pall Mall and through St James's Park.

And I'm so pleased we did because it was just beautiful. All the daffodils are out in force and the cherry blossoms are just starting to pop and it all just feels so promising.

LB and I were even visited by a ladybird this morning at home. Spring is so nearly sprung and I can't wait. I also can't wait for next weekend. Thinking about the week ahead feels like preparing for a marathon. And there's only so much sustenance a hot cross bun can offer.

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