365 Project 15 – 20: A week in winter

SNOMG

Day 19:  SNOMG!

Last week, although I did continue taking daily photos for my 365 Project, I didn’t bother posting them on Instagram. This was partly to keep you all on your toes  because the photos I took all totally sucked, but it was also because a friend pointed me in the direction of the Project 365 app which – yes, you’ve guessed it – is designed specifically with projects like this in mind, and basically allows you to organise your daily photos in a neat little month-by-month display, and also to set reminders etc. It’s cool, it’s free, and it’s something I totally should’ve discovered myself, except I jumped right into this project without really thinking about it. I know, SO unlike me! Ahem.

Anyway, I now have the app and am storing my photos there, so that when I post these roundups you won’t already have seen the photos on Instagram, and you can all be thrilled and amazed by them. Or as thrilled and amazed as you can be by a photo of the heater in someone else’s living room, that is, which is to say “not very”. And yes, I took a photo of the heater in the living room. Look, it was kind of a crappy week, OK? Some of the stressy things I mentioned back in December came back to bite me in the butt last week, and then the SNOW came to bite me in the butt too, so it was never going to be a good one, really. The fact is, though, as much as I hate all of the Snowcialmedia Hysteria, I have to admit that last week the snow itself was almost welcome, purely because it gave me an excuse to hibernate and not leave the house. This week, on the other hand? This week has been different – better – and the claustrophobia of not being able to go where I want, wear what I want and do what I want is really starting to get to me. Last week, though? Last week I hibernated. And I took a lot of crappy photos. It’s OK, though, because one of the things I realised from my first two massive roundups is that the photos I’m taking for this project are as much writing prompts as they are snapshots of my Very Important Life, so with all of that said, here they are:

project 365

Day 15: The heater in the living room. Exciting!

It’s here purely to visually clue you all in to the fact that the temperature, it was cold. The heater, it was needed. The sentences, they were strangely structured. So, yeah, it was cold. Did you all get that? Good, moving on…

Day 16: Beside my bed

My beloved Kindle, and also some real live books. The ‘Tigers in Red Weather’ one was sent to me as a review copy by the publisher. I was a little bit confused by this, because the last time I wrote a book review I was in high school, but hey, can’t complain. I don’t review Porsches, luxury holidays or champagne either, so if anyone wants to send me any of those, that would be fine. (I haven’t read it yet. It looks good, though.) The yellow things are my earplugs. I have a low tolerance for noise. We’ll get to that soon.

Day 17: MOAR reading

I downloaded The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes, and devoured it in a couple of sittings. I would’ve done it in one, but you know, pesky work, grumble grumble. Anyway, I absolutely loved it: definitely recommended.

photo a dayDay 18: Friday night with Dexter. And also Rubin and Terry. 

Guess who forgot all about that day’s photo until 11:30pm, and then had to take a blurry photo of the TV screen? Oh yeah, that would be me…

Day 19: I hate myself for taking a photo of the snow.

Next thing you know I’ll be talking incessantly about Les Miserables and using the word “deskside” in a totally non-ironic way. GOD.

After all of that lying around doing nothing, however, on Sunday we figured it was high time to rejoin the land of the living, and also there was absolutely nothing to eat in the house, so we decided to go out:

OUT

Day 20: OUT

We went to a local chain restaurant. The food is good and cheap, but we don’t tend to visit this place very often, purely because any time someone in the restaurant is having a birthday, they play Cliff Richard’s “Congratulations” at an absolutely ear-splitting volume – like, so loud you can’t even hear yourself think. This, of course, would be no big deal, except for the fact that every time we’ve been there, there have been, like TEN birthdays in progress. Seriously. I guess it must be the go-to place for birthday meals, or something, so there you’ll be, enjoying your meal, when suddenly “COOOONGRAAAATULAAAAATIIIOOOOOONS!”booms out, and you have to stop mid-conversation and wait for Cliff to do his thang, before you can speak again. As soon as you do, though…  “AAAAND JUUUBILAAAAATTTTIIOOOOONSS!” So you close your mouth again, and sit and wait, and politely applaud the “birthday person”, then you turn back to your conversation and… “CONGRAAATULLAAAAATIONS!”

And then you pick up your bread knife, and you slice off your own ears, because there is a limit to how often most people can listen to Cliff Richards in one evening, and in my case, three times before I’ve even placed my drink order is three times too many.

Anyway, enough time had elapsed since our last visit to this restaurant for us to be willing to give it another go, but as I opened the door, I turned to Terry and asked how many times he reckoned we’d hear Congratulations before we left. I was thinking we could maybe do some kind of “Congratulations!” drinking game or something. “No times,” said Terry confidently. “They won’t play it tonight.” And you know, Terry was right. Obviously no one in our town has a birthday on January 20th:  I have stored that fact away in my brain, so we can go back next year.

Despite the absence of Cliff and his boyish vocals, however, our meal was not to be the quiet, intimate affair we had hoped for. Mostly because we were in a chain restaurant, you know? I mean, if it’s “quiet and intimate” you’re after, you don’t go to a joint that plays Cliff Richards at top volume every time someone sneezes, do you? That’s why, as we slid into our seats, and noticed that the booth opposite us was occupied by a family whose two small children were screaming at top volume, we weren’t particularly phased by it. Well,  at least it was better than Cliff, after all.

Then each of the two adults present pulled out their phones. And started playing music on them. Tinny music. From not one, but TWO cellphones: cellphones which were competing, not just with each other, but also with the already loud music playing in the bar. I guess that’s a thing now? Playing music from your phone – or from your TWO PHONES – while you’re in a restaurant? And, OK, it may not be the classiest joint in town, but even so, people, EVEN SO. Cliff Richard may have had the night off, but Terry and I STILL couldn’t hear each other speak because of all of the clashing music tracks. It was so distracting we almost asked to be moved to another table, but we didn’t. Because we’re British: we don’t complain. And because if we had complainedwe’d have been THOSE people, and everyone would’ve thought we were horrible child-haters, when really, we don’t hate children at all: we hate adults who bring their own source of music to a restaurant.

(I’m exaggerating, of course. We don’t HATE The Others.We just… OK, yes, we hate them. And by “we”, I mean “it’s mostly me”.)

“Leave it,” I told Terry, as he started to flag down our waiter. “We won’t complain NOW, when there’s a chance of something being done about it: we’ll just wait until we’re home, then we’ll passive-aggressively complain on the internet. So that’s what we  I did.

Thankfully The Others switched the music off when their food arrived: I think they were doing it in a bid to keep the children quiet, and, you know, kudos to them for that, but the sound of children being children is just part of life: the sound of music playing from two different cellphones at the same time, however? That’s classic Others.

In summary: it was a “Music Playing from Two Cellphones at the Same Time” kind of a week. But my burger was delicious.

32 Comments

  • Fi says:

    That is uncanny. That chain restaurant look EXACTLY like the inside of the branch of the same chain restaurant that is local to me. I had no idea they replicated them identically – was it purpose build from new?

  • Erika says:

    I love how you refer to the public as The Others! Makes me laugh every time, I almost feel the very same way about them. :-)

  • Danny says:

    Thanks for the reminder that my ladders are still in your garden :-)

  • I know the chain restaurant you mean – they have two branches here and they’re both identical to that one. The food’s pretty good but THE VOLUME OF THE MUSIC not so conducive to conversation. And, seriously? Playing your phone music, too? No. No, I would have sat and shot them surreptitious irritated glances, too.

    • Amber says:

      Oh good, I was a bit worried everyone would tell me I was being totally unreasonable (which I normally am, let’s face it). I know I’m a boring old fart, but I don’t get why restaurants play loud music anyway. I mean, soft background music, sure, but when you have to shout to be heard by the person sitting next to you, it’s too damn loud!

  • Katie says:

    Excellent work painted the Cliff Richard scene- it was like I was right there in the restaurant with a bread knife against my ear!! Those people sound horrific- there is NO EXCUSE for cell phone music at any point unless your phone is actually ringing. Although at least they didn’t pretend it was one of their kids’ birthdays to get some free cake…
    x
    P.S. I love Marian Keyes. If you haven’t already discovered Katie Fforde, her style is quite similar should you need more reading!

  • Maddy says:

    Looks like you had a nice week despite the snow! xxx
    http://unstitchedd.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Janine says:

    Ok first things first, Day 18 photo of Rubin…amazing! Look at his little face haha, really made me smile so thank you for that :)

    Also I really hope that whatever is happening/happened last week is either calmed down now or over. Doesn’t sound like you were having the best of times last week, big hugs (yeah an internet cliche I know, but the sentiment is genuine)

    Those people in that restaurant… OMG I would have had to move. I am like you with noise (I also have some ear plugs) Mr Bertie feels the need to blast his iPad or radio through his mobile whenever he is in the bathroom, because he couldn’t possibly bath or brush his teeth or shave in silence. He needs to learn to just be alone with his thoughts. Otherwise I am going to ram that iPad up his… anyway back to my point… what is with some people these days not realising about the noise invasion in public spaces?! We have a sign on our buses round here that says “keep the noise down: Mobiles, Music, MOUTHS” I love it!!! I have even done a ‘shhhh’ and pointed at that sign once when some teenagers were shrieking and playing music through their tinny phone. They just cracked up and shouted “stupid OLD b*tch” so yes that went well! I won’t try that again in a hurry! Also I am only 31, when did that become OLD?! I won’t question the stupid or b*tch because yeah whetever, but old?!! Please say it isn’t so!

    Have a lovely weekend, the OMGSNOW is back with a vengeance here, snowflakes the size of McCoys Man Crisps are currently falling, I may build an igloo tomorrow. One of my friends built one about ten feet tall and about eight feet wide last weekend, it was amazing! At least the snow is good for some things!

    Janine xx
    BakeGlueandTrend
    Giveaway Post >>> bakeglueandtrend.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/love-dress-giveaway.html

    • Amber says:

      Thanks, lovely – it definitely wasn’t the best week I’ve ever had, but hopefully it’s all behind us now!

      The tinny phone music just SLAYS me. I mean, it’s like technology has gone backwards or something… I hate to sound old too, but IN MY DAY we have proper headphones, that meant no one else could hear your music: nowadays they can’t seem to make earbuds that don’t just broadcast it to everyone. Also, most of the teenagers around here just walk around blasting their music through the phone’s tinny speakers anyway: WHY? It sounds so bad! It would sound so much better if they just used earbuds! I will never understand. Especially when I’m out walking the dog in the woods, or some other part of the countryside and I meet someone destroying the tranquillity with their stupid music: I mean, I go into the countryside to get away from noise – IS NOTHING SACRED?!

      Ah, I think I needed that rant :)

      • Janine says:

        Glad to hear it is all hopefully behind you now xx

        You don’t sound old, you sound sensible. I was on the bus home from town yesterday (oh my life is SO glamorous) and there was a family on there screaming at each other at top of their voices and then the mother decided to make a phone call and scream at someone else (presumably her husband) whilst her two sons had a fight on the back seat, hitting the floor and walls with their plastic swords and her teenage daughter blared out music on her tinny phone. It was unbearable seriously. This one guy (who was amusingly only about 16 or so) stood up and shouted “For f*cks sake” and then went and sat upstairs away from the noise (wish I had the same idea/guts to do it too). It was funny as it made me think of you (in the nicest possible way) and this wasn’t one of those buses with the sign about being quiet so I couldn’t even point to it and do my ‘shhhhhh’ hahaha :)

        • Amber says:

          I actually laughed out loud when I got to the line “with their plastic swords”: anytime I think of The Others now, I’m going to imagine them all carrying little plastic swords and beating the floors with them – hee!

  • Katie says:

    I had something similar happen on a train recently where parents decided to entertain their child on a two and a half hour trip by playing movies on their computer for them. ARGH. The child wasn’t annoying at all; that stupid movie with its stupid sound effects and general inanity, however, was ridiculously irritating. What’s wrong with playing I Spy or colouring in? I feel sorry for kids who are being given passive entertainment instead of being encouraged to use their brain and learn things.

    On the up side, Rubin looks outrageously cute in that snow photo.

    • Amber says:

      Oh God, this is one of the many reasons I hate travelling – I remember once spending a flight sitting in front of a teenager who spent the entire flight playing some kind of noisy computer game… I’m a nervous flier as it is, and the constant explosions at the back of my head REALLY didn’t help! (And he was an older teenager too, not a little kid…)

  • Corinne says:

    I like the heater, is that weird? It would not go very well in my room but it looks funky. Give it. I also like Rubins little face in the late night photo by the TV. She is cutes!

    I would not have asked to move as I am not a complainer, but a very passive agressive person like yourself. It’s more fun that way, I think?

    Glad you enjoyed your burger.

    Corinne x
    http://www.skinnedcartree.com

  • Elise says:

    Heh I dunno, if it was me I would have purposely avoided the kiddies! But yeah what’s the deal with playing music out loud now? I’ve heard it on buses and from folk walking down the street – have headphones become a thing of the past?! Love your pics tho, Rubin is awesome :)

  • aida says:

    i have yellow earplugs beside my bed too. :)

  • Ghalia says:

    I must remember not to catch up on your blogs while I’m at the office. This and several of your most recent posts at The Fashion Police were HILARIOUS. I hope I haven’t done any irreversible damage to my body as a result of the pressure build up as I tried not to laugh out loud.

    Thank you for making me smile this morning!

  • Roisin says:

    You know, I just can’t get into talking about noise from iPads or music from phones in restaurants. I’d be here ranting all day. But a similar thing happened to us in a WINE BAR last weekend – yes, I went to a wine bar on a Saturday afternoon and had to listen to parents playing movies on two separate iPads to their children. IN A WINE BAR. Not a place for children. ACK!

    • Amber says:

      I really think Apple have a lot to answer for in terms of deteriorating manners… I guess most people wouldn’t bring a TV or radio into a bar/restaurant, but if it’s an iPad or phone, what the hell!

  • Emily says:

    The way people behave continues to baffle me. Playing music on your phone is pretty much never acceptable, but certainly not in a restaurant. It’s as though people are unaware of the invention of headphones. I recently had to share a room with two other people for three months (and yes, I mean a *room*, not a flat) and one of them was a prolific Skyper and watcher of annoying programmes like The Only Way is Essex… and never used headphones. At all. Because I never mentioned it the first time she did it, or the second time, or the third time… it eventually got to the point where I just couldn’t say anything and had to endure it until I left.

  • Selina says:

    It’s Frankie and Bennys, isn’t it? I HATE that congratulations song and it always happens when I’m there

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