Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Looking ahead...

It’s almost February. Yes, this is the first of many startling revelations in this post!

No, nothing remarkably new to report. Work remains busy, but I dimly perceive we’ve passed the peak of this particular project so I can get back into a more regular work/life balance.

Tomorrow I am seeing Fella. We’re having a quiet night in, a film, a nice dinner. I want to buy him a present of some sort because helped me find a restaurant for Thursday night too. That is when I’m out with ‘A’ and ‘F’ and – this is how long it’s been – I can give them their Christmas present; I picked them up in Germany and I got them each a book too so I hope they will like them.

Friday we’re going out to a club… I’m not sure of the details ,but Fella won it in some kind of competition. It’s important I reign in my work commitments as I’m on strict instructions to have my dancing legs on!

This in turn leads us to a quiet weekend…

My mission for February is to spend as little money as humanly possible. I need to save and because Fella has a much lower income than I do I feel guilty when he buys things. To stray off topic for a moment; he and I visited friends for lunch on Sunday and we alighted on the topic of living together. I’ve got a rough idea of how much he can afford to spend on rent; and he seemed keen on paying half the rent were we ever to share a home. Unfortunately if what he can afford were half the rent, then the rent would be no more than what I can pay on my own.

I therefore suggested he pays what he can afford; I pay what I can afford and we both get to live somewhere nice than we could have had separately.

Anyway, I have a decent income but rarely have much left at the end of a month. So there must be more discipline.

I am sure you have identified the exception to this, gentle reader; Valentine’s day. Made up holiday? Perhaps. Saccharine sweetness that in past years has made me vomit myself into a desiccated husk? Sure. But this one time, dangnamit, I want a proper Valentine’s day. With my man.

So that’ll be a bit of money – and well worth it too.

Saturday, 23 January 2010


Those who know me might on occasion detect a hint of cynicism in my expectations of whatever happens next.. I try – and succeed – to be positive and take things on the chin, ever keen to draw a line through life’s little upsets rather than under them.

So then, it is an indication of how things are/were going with fella when what happened last night appeared to come out of the blue.

I was insanely tired last night, because Thursday turned out to be a 15 hour day, due to a miscommunication between two senior managers at my workplace that led me to junk two working day’s work and having to start again. Well, I’m buggered if I’m staying late on Friday and having my man cool his heels. Left to his own devices he’ll only get a better offer, and then where am I?!

So then, we met at 5:00 – I gave him a tour of my office, because I’ve become quite a fixture at the Royal College – and then we head home. Dinner, tele, sleeps. Except Fella decides he wants to watch The Wedding Date (a film I consider – whether through displacement activity, sheer tired grumpiness or just ‘cos - total tosh). And being a bit tired and emotional both, and his case not a little drunk, he asks me (in keeping with a theme of the film) whether I would tell him if I slept with other people.

That’s a question I don’t know how to answer. And I’m not sure how best to describe to you, gentle reader, exactly why. So in the good ol’ thinking out loudness of my blog-spherity lets think it out loud:

1. I’ve slept with a lot of people. Well, a reasonable number, for a gayer, anyway
2. Monogamy or not is fine by me – it’s honesty that counts
3. But I actually like monogamy with this one. No excuses; I just do. OK?
4. But, but, I did sleep with a couple of people between the first and second date; when I was transmogrifying from Cheerful Fairy to Very Happy Boyfriend Fairy
5. I don’t think he’s slept with other people since we met, or since we started our relationship…

The reality of it is I cannot answer questions the premise of which I do not comprehend.

Well, I’m not going to answer it here. But I will finish this post assuring you that we – he and I – are pretty much rock solid. So much so it seems a shame to stray into the territory of Really Stupid Angst over our relationship; yet this territory is hardly untouched by human habitation, is it?

It’s just the kind of question that, although you are really tired, it can still stop you sleeping…

Thursday, 21 January 2010


I’ve been sitting here racking my brains on things to update you with gentle reader, but nothing has occurred to me. I am a dull fairy indeed at the moment. I do think that’s mainly down to the fact I’ve been working really hard recently.

I love the job, and although I’ve been doing long days with little sleep (four to five hours a night most weekdays) I find the work energising and I really feel like I’m achieving something.

As I may have intimated before, gentle reader, that I work in the NHS for the health authority overseeing services in London. My recent promotion has seen me move from oversight of range of local services into an holistic London-side project management role.

In London we are implementing a five year strategy to transform services. It essentially involves changing the model from a 9-5 GP in the community and a hospital providing everything but to variable quality where you go into a multi-tiered model where as much as possible is provided in the community as close to the patient’s home as possible; and that specialist services are concentrated in centres of excellence.

Pharmacies; diagnostic; urgent care centres in the community combined with GP surgeries, community hospitals and community nursing/midwifery/social care in a hub-and-spoke model. Consultants holding their outpatient clinics in dedicated facilities in the community so, for example, elderly patients aren’t separated from their care structures and exposed to risk of infection…

Of course there’s contention around the model. Hence a recent media campaign in which several broadsheet newspapers report plans to cut back services and the BMA releases reports unhelpfully entitled things like “Why Everything is Shit Unless Doctor’s Are In Charge PS Stop Eating Butter.”

It’s exciting because my colleagues and I really want to drive forward changes that improve and expand care whilst also taking into account of the fact that we are experiencing the toughest financial conditions in history. Five years of zero real growth. Even under the most austere right wing days of Thatcherism the service had better funding growth than that.

My role is to midwife the first year of operating plans for each NHS organisation. Ensure they are robust, and that my organisation proactively manages the achievement of the aims set out in the plans. Not a small job. Or an easy one. But one I think is very worthwhile.

See? See how very busy and important I am? Do you?

Busy. Important. And Boring! Well, there’s fun planned for February so normal service will be restored ever so soon.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Lady luck

Lady luck has been somewhat fickle with her finger most recently, gentle reader; indeed it has been quite the roller-coaster ride.

Thursday and Friday were excellent! My first major project since getting promoted came to its climax. As any project manager knows, when a project has had three different project managers in four months it’s time to worry. But I managed to steer the ship into port – everything, and I do mean everything, went perfectly. I can hardly believe it now…

On Friday I was genuinely surprised to be the subject of an inordinate amount of praise. I was summoned to meet the chief executive of the NHS, no less, to receive his personal thanks; my own chief executive bought me a bottle of very nice champagne and all the directors came together to give me a standing ovation.

No, it was not a dream! It was mortifying but nice… in its own way. Of course I tried to make clear that (a) I didn’t deserve this adulation (b) I’m keeping the champagne and (c) don’t expect me to make a habit of actually, you know, getting things done.

Actually it was really, really hard work and on Friday I was a bit demob happy. After work I went to the Annual Ball at the Royal College where Fella works and we ate, drank and danced the night away. It was a lovely end to a full week.

Sadly it was then our luck began to run out. Fella had some lovely pictures taken of us at no small expense, and I left them behind at the ball; so on Saturday I went back and even rooted through the bins to try and find them. But I couldn’t. I was very, very upset because those pictures meant a lot to Fella and I really feel like I’ve badly let him down.

I was NOT best pleased to be confronted by this, though Fella was fine with it really. I on the other hand feel like a total dick. I’ve never really let anyone down as such before. Not like this.

So all in all it was a bittersweet end of the week that was for me. Fella assures me he had a very lovely weekend and I did try to make it up to him in the nicest possible way… Still, it’s time to think of something very special to help convince him to stick with me! And as our ten months comes up very very close to a certain date in February a plan doth begin to form…

Thursday, 14 January 2010


Well, I will say the year has got off to a flying start – hence the paucity of blogging and indeed the BOGOF on posts today.

So where are we at, and that?

The world of work is as it has ever been. Busy. Yes, busy. Did I ever mention I was busy at work? I am, don’t y’know. Today my first major project since promotion came to fruition. And, to my amazement, it passed off without a hitch. All six events I was organising, all 49 things happening at once, all 140-odd people… seamless. Lunches, taxis, telephones, all present and correct as and when needed.

I am pleased, yet not entirely sure I can bring myself to believe it. Strumpetville works; it is admitted and found proved!

No rest from Frumpella, I fear; all the other work I have neglected is becoming pressing so onward and ever upward on that score. But it should get a bit easier from now on; phew.

I had become slightly concerned about the level of work, in that it risked impacting on my relationship. The continuing disruption caused by the snow here on Airstrip One meant Fella was relying on me to host him when he couldn’t go home. I really don’t know how people with children manage it, especially single parents. I have a boyfriend who stays a few nights a week and a mildly demanding office job and balancing the two has been really tough.

I don’t mean he’s demanding or anything. It’s making the quality time to be with him whilst also meeting the needs of my work. Cooking, cleaning, sleeping, and of course sex – all are affected by having him around.

Fortunately all continues absolutely swimmingly marvellously well. Tomorrow I am dressing up in a dinner jacket and going to the ball at the Royal College where Fella works. I wonder if there will be dancing… Fella and I have tried but we both try to lead!

When getting my dinner jacket for the ball I was surprised to discover my chest has gone down to 38 inches. It was 42 not so long ago. It’s not so easy to notice because my waist has gone from 36 inches to 32. I suppose it’s yet another illustration of my ongoing health issues. I has some blood tests and all appears well but as planned I have been referred on for more tests at the local hospital, so we wait ever on.

So there we have it. Here we are. Dull, I wonder? Well, there’s more to come so stick with me gentle reader. Let's see what happens next...

Vexes from exes

It had to happen sooner or later; and as always with these things it’s always unexpected. I came out of the closet and – to cut a long story short – ended up having my fun.

Lots of fun.

Lots of frankly damned good fun, as it goes.

Anyway, it turns out the Ghost of Assignations Past has a job at my current employer. It’s not embarrassing or awkward; it’s just slightly unnerving to bump into someone like that. I mean, fun is fun; but afterward the deal is you stop existing, right?

One of the down sides of this kind of encounter is that your rather fond memories of physical pleasure just so are spoiled by getting to know the person you were… with. A kind of anti-relationship I suppose. This particular guy indicated without any encouragement from, gentle reader, that whilst he might be up for fun he “doesn’t fuck the crew”.

Right then he turned from a delicious piece of nostalgia to a bit of a cock.

Coincidentally another past assignation got in touch. It was rather random, and I’m not sure how best to take it as it doesn’t seem to portray me in a good light. Now, this is someone I met a few times a while ago and it was again just a bit of fun for us both. I’m amazed he still has my number, to be honest.

A text message arrived explaining he (nice for him to be sure) has found himself a boyfriend. And, if I ever meet the boyfriend, I shouldn’t tell him that me and theis past-assignation ever hooked up.

Right…. OK. Well, my lips are sealed. But now I’m thinking: is it because I’m something to be ashamed of? Or am I so indiscreet? As if I'm likely to walk in and loudly exclaim "Hi X! I was just thinking about that time I got you with my candlestick in your ballroom". Well, in all frankness, I don’t think it can be either of those things. This guy has probably tried to convince his new beau that he’s is pure and virtuous. LMFA (pardon the pun) O!

Well if we are to be saintly let us remember the words St Augustine of Hippo: “Lord, give me chastity… but not yet”. Good luck to him say I. And mind your manners!!

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Your move...

As you may know Britain has been in the grip of a mini ice age, a veritable climate catastrophe that had brought this erstwhile other Eden unto the very brink of disaster.

Also known as snow.

The thing about Britain – one of the many things that is – is that the infrastructure is crap. Thus the snow caused all transport to grind to a halt. The net result of that has been that Fella and I have spent virtually every day together again. In fact he only went home today – thus allowing me to keep you informed, gentle reader.

We’ll be celebrating nine months together at the end of next week, and, at the risk of jinxing things, things continue to go well. Not perfect – why should they be? But… well. Of course I love him to bits and the hypothetical of losing him genuinely frightens me. So it’s difficult, having spent so much time literally within a couple of feet of each other, to avoid smothering each other with love AND equally to avoid smothering each other with a pillow.

I think it shows how well we are suited that being in the same room 24/7 has resulted in no consequences whatever.

It should be borne in mind that the backdrop to this is an insanely busy return to work [as an aside I should acknowledge I often complain about being busy at work but this is something else]. I have been given a project that comes to fruition next week; next Thursday between 9am and 2pm 144 people representing 49 different organisations will come together to undertake an exercise that will ensure the fulfilment of 106 separate statutory functions. I’ve been up at 5:00 and been working till 22:00. Fella deserves a prize for his forbearance and I surely have earned my extra £54 per month (net).

Under these circumstances it is perhaps not surprising we have begun to tentatively discuss moving in together. And our decision is, perhaps quite surprisingly, that we’re not quite ready.

We both need our own space and even if we were to live together Fella is insistent of a two bedroom’d place (I think a two roomed place would fit the bill, but there we are) so we could be together but be apart. This is the key, you see – when we are together we must be together. It’s great, but after nine days together we just miught not want to watch the same thing, eat the same thing, sleep at the same time.

So when Fella moves to London things will be easier because we’ll be within a reasonable distance of each other and we can. Frankly, just piss off when we need to. And then piss back. Snow notwithstanding, of course.

There we have it then. This is working. My mood swings and the sky falling in haven’t driven us off track, even. And now I must spend a week without him… Boo!

Monday, 4 January 2010

Good Boyfriend/Bad Boyfriend

I worry about being a good boyfriend, or being a bad boyfriend if you want to look at it that way. I worry in part because good/bad in a relationship isn’t easy to define. If it were, I suppose there’d only be one book in the self-help section and rather fewer blogs too.

I’m really sure about Fella. I mean, really sure. I’m certain he’s the one for me. There’s no down side. Nothing about him that makes me doubt that we should and will be together. I know it involves work and I know neither of us is perfect but all the flaws and challenges exist within the sphere of our relationship, rather than outwith it – trying (if you’ll permit me to stretch a metaphor) to burst our bubble.

Still, the butterfly of mine angst has flutterbutted from time to time to the worry that I am settling for Fella, or staying with him (or making him stay with me) for the wrong reasons.

c.f. Bad Boyfriend: I can’t do better. I don’t want to go out dating again. I’m getting older. I can get x, y, z from him…

The Good Boyfriend sees in Fella exactly what he is. The best lover I’ve ever had; the one who gives all of himself and to whom it is a joy to give myself in return (I got the better part of the dealt to be sure, gentle reader, but nonetheless…). The one I want to be with all day and every day.

But this isn’t black and white. There are many shades of pink [?]. The Good Boyfriend/Bad Boyfriend isn’t a Jekyll and Hyde monster dude. Fella and I have been together constantly since 27 December until today; 9 days in total. We didn’t go to work, We didn’t go out separately (much). Virtually 24 hours in each other’s company. And Bad Boyfriend did not put in much of an appearance at all. But we got on each other’s nerves from time to time about petty things like hogging the bed or juts…being there sometimes!

Yes, we might well say that if Good Boyfriend is loving then Bad Boyfriend is ungrateful. Bad Boyfriend might even be insane, if insanity can be defined as a danger to oneself.

In the world of the Good Bad Boyfriend finds a niche all his own. It may seem a strange thing to write but I kinda need Bad Boyfriend around because he helps define the trust that exists between Fella and I.

If I’m not selfish enough sometimes to demand what I want (and the same true of Fella but of course) then we couldn’t be sure of honesty between each other. A zen like sublimation of our selves into the other isn’t, to me, how a relationship of – equally flawed, equally giving – equals is meant to work. Bad Boyfriend is a part of us all, I think – and evidence that he exists helps in the long term. In small quantities…

Dan Savage is a great columnist in the US; definitely someone who blogs better than me. Not necessarily work safe, but enjoy...