Living in the now

Today I am taking the Eurostar to Brussels to meet my boyfriend. From there we will travel to Bruges, where we will spend two days and nights drinking Belgian beer, eating Belgian food (chocolate and mussels anyone?) and generally enjoying one another’s company, in recognition of the fact we have now ‘officially’ been an item for two years (unofficially about six months longer than that but, like most females of the species, I like to have a specific date on which to celebrate anniversaries). In light of our friend’s recent passing this weekend will be particularly poignant, and I’m determined not to let any of my numerous neuroses and worries creep into this special time we’ve set aside. Similarly, despite his current heavy workload, my boyfriend is planning to leave his work at the train door (he’s already half way there, having left his work mobile on the Eurostar yesterday – oops).

I’ve never been very good at living ‘in the now,’ but if ever there was a reason to do just that it’s Paul’s tragic death two weeks ago. I know I’ve mentioned it a lot on this blog, and I apologise for being repetitive, but it’s profoundly affected my outlook on life and strengthened my resolve not only never to take the people I love for granted, but also to grasp every opportunity that comes my way. This has been a shocking reminder of how short a time we walk this earth, and how quickly life can be snatched away from us, whether we’re ready or not. From this day forward I will do my best to incorporate Paul’s adventurous spirit into my own life choices, as a reminder to seize the day and squeeze every joyful moment out of life that I can.

Cold calls and cupcakes

This morning I came into work determined to blitz my to do list once and for all, so that I might go to Belgium this weekend feeling in control and, dare I say it, ‘on top of’ things. Sadly, however, today was not to be my day. My initial enthusiastic approach was thwarted at every turn. Firstly, I sat down at my desk to find the papers for the hitherto forgotten (in my mind at least) board meeting staring back at me. Then, post three-hour board meeting, I emerged, blinking in the light, to a telephone call from a blocked number which went something like this:

Me: Hello?

Annoying stranger: Hi, yes, I’m calling about your payment protection.

Me: I don’t have any payment protection.

Annoying stranger: But haven’t you recently taken out a loan?

Me: Look, if you’re trying to sell me something I’m really not interested..

AS: No, I’m absolutely not selling anything….

Me: So what are you calling about?

AS: Your recent loan..

Me: But I haven’t taken out a loan.

AS: Really?

Me: Yes, really. Look, I’m not interested in whatever you’re trying to sell me, okay?

AS: But I’m not a salesman, honestly…

Me: Then what are you?

AS (weakly): I’m calling about your loan…

Me: How many times do I have to tell you I’m NOT INTERESTED?

AS (sounding scared now): Um, okay….

Me: Right. GOODBYE (slams receiver down).

I’m not sure my true wrath translates so well in this context but suffice to say I think the poor man might be re-evaluating his career choices from this day forward…

Fortunately the remainder of the afternoon passed without incident and I did manage to make an indent in the To Do list despite the adverse conditions. But the true success of today was the delicious risotto we made for dinner-with peas, beetroot and goats cheese. This was topped off with a bottle of red and two delicious Hummingbird Bakery cupcakes (apple strewsel and tiramisu, since you asked), courtesy of my friend Kaye’s birthday voucher from a year ago, to celebrate two years to the day we ‘officially’ started going out – a low key celebration in light of recent events, but a lovely one nonetheless. Bruges this weekend will be the icing on the (cup)cake. I can’t wait.