Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Here are the sayings on the birthday cards I got on Thursday 23rd:

"Birthdays are Nature's way of telling you to eat more cake" Jo Brand

"Life is short. Eat dessert first!" Jacques Torres

"Age and treachery will triumph over youth and skill."

"Age doesn't matter when you've got STYLE!" (with a baby on the cover)

Anybody spot a trend (or possibly two) here?

But anyway had two lovely birthday parties, thanks so much to all of my friends who crossed over from several parts of London on a particularly dreary day, and to my friends and family who put up with my lack of organisation (i.e. food) in Porto.

Got loads of lovely gifts, amongst them a quirky diary from Ali that promises to "organise my life in neat little lists" - some of you may know about my addiction in making activity lists, but that has never resulted in having a less disorganised life so maybe this diary will change that! A pin from Andy Wong saying "What if there were no hypothetical questions?". And although all gifts were fantastic, I have to admit my favourite was my cousin's goodie hamper containing red tea, rock sea salt and red berry jam. I am still flabbergasted that any man (let alone close family) could pay enough attention to what I was saying, and remember that I have been looking and/or needing this stuff for ages..

Absolutely gorgeous party in Caminha for Andy Shaw's birthday. Still not sure how much I can post about this, but here is something on one of the episodes that I wrote a while ago:

My friend was having a few days holiday in his family's country house with friends, culminating in a birthday party on the weekend. On the first day, a stray mongrel female dog arrived and made herself at home. She was very friendly, and allowed herself to be petted by everybody. On the day of the party she kept company until the early hours but when the party calmed down she disappeared. Some of the party who were staying at a nearby hotel found her there when they retired for the night, socializing with the guests who were still awake (it was by then very late). Obviously our party wasn't exciting enough for her anymore. Apparently she is well known in the area for befriending all visitors but not tying herself to any owner. We called her Barbara Dufus, but she probably has a new name every day.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

More on London life

My cousin Joao has just been visiting for the last 12 days. Less busy than previous visits as I've started work and am still adapting to this 8 hours out of my day when I'm not free thing. Saturday 11th usual thing of two parties in the same day - Robin's birthday drinks in a lovely pub in Mornington Crescent, then national stereotypes fancy dress party at Pedro, Patricia and Maggie's house in Lily Close. Pics will be up soon. Sunday 12th lovely capoeira roda in Hyde Park on what proved to be the last summer day. The Klezfest was also going on and it was amazing to see so many people dancing in a circle. Bought back fond memories of Andancas, the Portuguese dance festival which I have been missing for the last years. Monday collected my PhD degree from the University of London - shall I frame it, or loose it in the middle of the untidy paper piles in my room? Also went to a gallery on Architecture right in the centre of London. Work started on Tuesday 14th and after that have been exhausted all the time obviously, working hard at managing to get by on 8hrs sleep a night. More on my new job soon. Wednesday lovely dinner with Kathy at Brown's, a place one imagines is the same since the 1st world war. I'm sure this where the heroes meet in a lot of English novels. Saturday 18th went to the Brasilian Love Affair at the Notting Hill Arts Club, great as usual. Have used my by now considerable internet research skills to track down a song I heard that I loved, check out the artist, she's great! Sunday went to see I'm a real photographer at the Photographer's Gallery, whic exceeded expectations, and the Ikebana exhibition at the British Museum, which was tiny and not a patch on the V&A one a few years ago. And managed to fit in a swing dance lesson. Probably the hardest dance I have tried to learn so far - besides the complicated, off-beat steps and twirls, the expression the more advanced dancers gave to make it look good was amazing! My cousin's visit finished yesterday with a stroll around Hoxton and dinner at a Vietnamese in Kingsland Rd. Still feel a bit guilty as for 12 days in London this was very little!

More stuff- have created a blog (don't laugh) for my friends who are travelling around the world. Will put up the link on the right-hand side soon, meanwhile take a peek.

Meanwhile the Guardian has come out with another memorable titbit, this time on dating. All my Portuguese friends who ask me what the hell is the weird Anglo-Saxon habit, here are some excerpts:

" Many years of effort and billions of pounds have been wasted putting men on the moon, curing diseases and inventing turkey bacon, when what scientists should have been turning their minds and money is to find a way of circumventing the need for dating, defined in the Oxford English Dicitionary as a 'tortuous and inefficient method of trawling for potential mates, preceded by a mixture of optimisim and nausea, characterised by rapidly decreasing optimism and succeeded by sick apprehension that he won't (or will) call'. Dating may be the reason we don't rule the world. Nothing saps a girl's will or zest for life like it. [...] Post-date behaviour is simple enough. You go about your business, adamantly refusing to fulfil the stereotype of sad, single woman sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring and just as adamantly refusing to admit that, however hard you try, however demanding your job or thrilling your social life may be, 10% of your brain will be tracking the silent minutes as they pass. For the first 24 hours, this will be accompanied by the ceaseless internal whispering 'Is he going to call? Is he going to call?' For the second 24 hours, this is replaced by 'Why hasn't he called? Why hasn't he called?' After that, by the way of light relief, you get to move on to 'What's wrong with me? What's wrong with me?' [...]
by Stephane Kardos

And with my priorites in the right order again, the future events in the Dana are finally up. They are looking very interesting, and as soon as mine are sorted (climate change and nightmares) will let you know!

Thursday, August 02, 2007


Porto 6th to 10th of August
and 24th to 26th of August
So finally I can give an update on my job situation. I didn't want to put anything in before so as not to worry some people unduly, but now that I have got a new job (sorry, you'll have to read a bit more to find that out) I can put the whole job saga up.
I found out I was being made redundant in May - this, as I now know and have been at pains to explain since, is not the same as being fired. They were downsizing the company and decided to close my division (of pharma conferences). They offered me an option in finance conferences but I wasn't interested so on the 19th of May I started job-hunting. 14th of June I stopped working (I chose to work during my notice period) and the first two weeks off were bliss as i finally managed to catch up on some of the sleep I missed out on whilst finishing my thesis. (If you recall, I didn't take any holiday after that). After the two weeks I started getting bored, and although I had been going to a few interviews, nothing materialised.
In the last 12 days everything happened: on Fri 20th I went for an interview for Officer for National Science and Engineering Week. On Monday23rd , I got called in for an interview on Friday for the position of Programme Developer for the Dana Centre. On Tuesday I got an interview set up by a recruitment agent for another position as Conference Producer. On Wednesday, I got offered the position of Officer for National Science and Engineering Week. After the interview on Friday the 27th for Conference Producer, I promptly got offered that as well. On Monday the 30th, after a very good interview and me telling them that I needed to know quickly because of another job offer, I got offered the position of Programme Developer at the Dana Centre. Which I accepted, because it's always what I have wanted to do, even though it was by far the lowest paid of the three jobs I was offered.
Check here for what the Dana Centre does, I'm going to be one of the people responsible for coming up with the ideas and transforming them into events. So it all turned out brilliantly in the end. To carry on with my stroke of fortune, yesterday I managed to get a flight to Porto for next week, with TAP, for under a £100 (all included). I am still flabbergasted, and definitely want to recommend the travel agency that got me this, Caravela. Also got one for the last weekend in August as it is my birthday, you'll probably hear more of that by e-mail.
So there it is, I start work on the 14th of August, and hope to see ALL of you come to a few of my events.