Thursday, 29 November 2007

Fiary Tales

I am watching a squirrel watching a very black cat watching a very oblivious blackbird in my garden. The squirrel, whom I shall call Dennis although it’s not his real name, is a bit of a yob. He nicks everything on my bird table and I am sure I have seen him trying to break into my back door when he thinks I can’t see him.

My interview for the 6-month placement was at Canary Wharf.
I had put three alarm clocks strategically around the bedroom, which would ensure I had to actually get out of bed to turn them off. As it was I didn’t really sleep so at 5:30 I got up and blearily got tarted up. There is nothing more disgusting then putting on foundation and eye makeup early in the morning. It is just wrong and always makes me feel greasy and clown like.
Taxi was early, train was on time…Kings Cross underground was shut. Overcrowding or terrorism..not quite sure, so when I finally got to Canary Wharf I was a bit worse for wear and in a hurry. The problem is Canary Wharf is a mother of a glass building. This is not good for VI people as it is hard to tell which door is door and which is not. For several minutes I bounced into glass like a very large and squidgy moth. And then… a voice,

Knight: Fair..ish maiden. I see thou art lost and wandering strangely. Couldst I be of service?

I: Why thou couldst gentle knight. Wouldst thou unpeel me from this glass and show me the way to this castle of glass in the sky.(shows him parchment upon wherein is written the quest.)

Knight: Alas, I see to get to yon castle thou must traverse a most worrisome and hellish route through….The Barclays Building.

I: My God. The Barclays Building?? Yet though I am much affrighted and fearful I must go on for I have made an oath.

Knight Why then fair..ish ermm maid I shall guide and protect you through these corridors of mirrors.

(And together they leapt over Xmas trees of fire and Star Bucks and the shop of the Futon and rounded the corner and saw the terrible rays glinting from the Barclays Building.)

Knight: I can go no further for I weaken terribly but from here you should be safe. Don’t look back and remember thou must never speak of me.

I: But gallant Knight I need know your name…your telephone number at leastest.

Knight. No it can never be….for I work ..(and here he disappeared into the mist.) work for HSBC.

This really happened I kid you not and would I lie?

Interview was a bit of a shambles but the adventure was worth it! Even got back in time to present my HIV documentary ‘On the Frontline’ at Cambridge City Council as part of their Disability and HIV International days. (They got two for one for cheap with me.)
Happy Disability Week and don’t forget World HIV Day on 1st December. Go on and give a few quid (Oxfam, Project San Francisco etc or local charity) and talk to someone about it all. It is important and whereas it may be no skin off your nose it might possibly save the skin of someone else! Awww go on go on go on!

Monday, 26 November 2007


I am feeling discombobulated. This is partly because I am trying to watch old CSI (forensic porn for pathologists), write a presentation for a job interview on Wednesday and ignore a creepy cold that has scratched the back of my throat and is now sitting on my chest deciding whether or not to go in for the kill. Also partly, I fear, my default setting actually is ‘discombobulation’.

The presentation for the job interview is on disability and culture in 2015…what do I think it will encompass and in what way will I have ..errr ...added to the mess…erm…put in my tuppence worth. You know what I mean. (My, how the words are flowing).

I wanted to make it into a bit of a performance, add a bit of drama to the tediousness of standard job interview procedure given this is about culture dontchaknow.….I thought I could start by blindfolding the panel and shouting ‘That levels the playing field a bit you bastards!!’ Then jumping straight in with my disabled joke of the week
‘I say, I say, I say…How do cripples make love?
They rub their crutches together.’
However after careful consideration and having a more intense squint at the Disability Agenda from the Disability Commission and the job description I think something a little more…I dunno… formal. Something that won’t get me arrested perhaps?

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Giving Thanks

A hangover of this weight and magnitude is not easy to find. It needs to be sought with courage, commitment, care and dedication…it involves a great deal of work and nurturing, an undertaking not to be taken lightly. This one was come upon in an entirely approiate manner involving a dozen loons, a turkey and an onslaught of pies. Yes you guessed it..a thanksgiving thrash and a half.
I had had a difficult day with quite a bit of pain,… is only occasionally thank goodness that I get eye pain and it is usually to do with lack of sleep or stress but it can be most annoying. It feels a little like my eyelashes are on the wrong way and made of wire. I presume the beginning of river blindness is a little similar. Bloody hell…note to self..give more money to Sightsavers… I had nipped to the gym for a swim which compounded the problem due to the chlorine and I was missing Teelo and so was in, by early evening, what in 1972 was called ‘a bit of a funk’. Therefore, when a glass of champagne was popped into my fist I didn’t baulk oh no, no…then gin and tonic just for a bit of pep..oh yep…and then about half a gallon of wine with the meal.

There was a thanksgiving quiz at some point I seem to remember and an absolutely appalling joke telling session and of course some idiot (I believe twas I) trying to outcool a very cool person hence:

Me: I’ve just discovered a really groovy new ..errrmmm…’

Very Cool Person ‘Really who?

Me: why you probably won’t have come across them (smug expression) they are called (pause for effect) The Fairy Projection…

Very Cool Person: Really? No I’ve not heard..

Me: Really great..errr..bub and…bass and bongos..

Very Cool Person: Hang on..You don’t mean The THIEVERY Coorporation do you?

Me: (thinking..oh bugger)..

Very Cool Person: (Trying to restrain laughter..not succeeding.) It sounds like The Thievery Co orporation…they are good, been around a while and I can see you could make that mistake..Fairy ..Projection.... hey everyone, you’ve got to hear this one….(etc and on and horrifically on)

I vaguely remember that even though I had cooked the thing, I didn’t get to try the whiskey pie, possibly because the hostess( the famous S from previous posts) very sensibly noted that even a whiff of bourbon would have me doing the can can on the table.. and then somehow it was three in the morning and time to go home

And the eye pain…. Everything else hurts so no idea.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Lost in Translation

I got a cab back from the station today because I was bit knackered and it was raining ..anyway I knew I was in for a long ride home when the driver sweetly asked me to join him in the front. I sighed as I clambered in knowing that this was going to be a man who liked to talk and indeed he did but not in English. No indeed, like many cabbies around the world he spoke that strange language ‘football’. I don’t speak football but I have picked up the basics and all I had to do was respond with the occasional ‘yeah…hopeless left foot’ and ‘Jose’s definitely a possibility’’, and the chap was happy. There was one sticky moment when, during a pause,I realised he had actually asked a question, but, and this is for any of you out there who don’t speak football, I remembered the one line that always gets a gentle sigh of appreciation. It is, and I have NO idea what it means, ‘well whatever they say, they don’t make ‘em like Arson anymore….’ . I like saying ‘Arson’ in public and it sends football speakers off into a dreamlike state and that lovely thing longed for in a taxi…silence.

I had come back from being interviewed at the BBC's Broadcasting House…oooooeeer…get her! It was in reference to the photographic exhibition and will be part of a programme being put out on Radio 4’s ‘In Touch’ (Tuesday evenings at 20:40.) The producer is also visually impaired and she showed me around some of her audio editing and enlargement software which was most groovy. Over a coffee we compared horror stories about various ophthalmologists and their inability to be either compassionate or clear when giving a life changing and traumatic diagnosis. I hear these stories over and over again which is depressing in the extreme. All ophthalmologists should be forced to spend 28 days in simulation specs…these are glasses which mimic a condition like retinitus pigmentosa or macular degeneration. They should not be allowed to take them off to eat, to pee, to read their emails or to do their research. Just 28 days. It might be the making of them.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Fire alarms and rain

I am sure you will be pleased to know that when the fire alarm went off at the gym this evening and the administrators were running up and down screaming at people to get out, I was standing starkers in the shower with my hair full of shampoo. Whereas one may have had vague fantasies (bought about by far too many bodice ripping novellas in ones youth) about being helped out of burning buildings by burly firemen, swooning and nubile (that would 'one' and not the firemen) actually being caught out in the shower at the gym with the smallest rather greying towel and no sense of humour is an entirely different thing.
Luckily the fire was a phoney and I, and all the people standing around the pool area, narrowly escaped being sent outside into the frosty rain in bare feet and no bloomers.

However I am, subsequently, late and tired and blue tonight. Something about the grey damp day and how pasty and irritable everyone has got suddenly. A few days ago I was walking over a footbridge behind about five or six young teenagers. They were shouting something to each other and I had a strange feeling that something was up as they began to link arms across the two footpaths of the bridge. I have seen this tactic before…riot police use it and demonstrators use it..and so do young muggers when they want to stop someone bigger then they are. I quickly slipped between them before they had got into place and had begun to speed up, to move ahead and to get out of their way but a young woman on a bike slowed down and was forced to a stop behind me, faced by five young dead blank faces. I was about two metres ahead so I stopped and turned around widening my stance so they could see another adult was there. The young woman was Polish. She had a smile in her voice which almost immediately was extinguished by the answer to her question ‘Hey? What’s going on? What can I do for you…I am in a terrible hurry..?
‘Give us a pound.’ Said one of the children. The woman was silent and in those strange few seconds the teenagers, possibly only 14 or so years old, just waited. I looked at their faces and there was absolutely nothing there but a kind of predatory, animal curiosity. How far could they take this..? Luckily other people could be heard coming down the path and I had moved slightly closer so within a few seconds they all realised their timing was off. They hesitated and then parted just enough to allow the woman to squeeze past and cycle furiously off and immediately I turned and walked away head down, cane safely tucked out of sight.
‘What were you fucking looking at’, they shouted and spat at my back. They would have blood that night. I wonder whose it was.

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Emerald green

I am in the bad habit of rescuing chameleons.
In Zambia there is a creation myth about the time when God gave the gift of life to the chameleon and the gift of death to Kalulu the rabbit. They were sent with their gifts to the newly created young humans however the chameleon being indecisive and very vain became distracted and Kalulu sprinted past him ensuring humans were bought death first. The poor chameleon’s punishment were eyes that would forever look in two directions and he is now stuck looking into the past and future, never completing anything and never able to get home. How sad is that!

The upshot of this, and the fact they are very strange looking creatures which can hiss and change colour in a most perturbing manner, is that the chameleon is hated in Zambia and seen as a bringer of bad luck, imbued with negative spirit and used by witches in various unpleasant spells. They are stoned on sight and boys with the ubiquitous catapult use them for target practice

Whilst growing up and later working in Lusaka I would keep coming across chameleons squashed on the road where drivers had seen them and deliberately served to hit them. Therefore, if I saw one of these incredible creatures attempting to cross a road...and damn they are slow and very, very wobbly which means even I could have hit them with a car – I would pick ‘em up and put them into the bushes out of sight..although I always had to check noone was looking as it could cause a bit of a cultural impasse.

Once, on my way back from the market, I saw one very beautiful, bright, emerald-green and extremely large chameleon about to walk out into the middle of a busy road so I picked it up and popped it into my lidded reed basket on top of my shopping.

Walking home the blighter began to try to escape. The ‘what-counts-as-a-pavement-in-Lusaka’ was packed with people, taxi drivers, small stalls and lots of children and I knew I couldn’t let the chameleon out safely until we got home to the sanctuary of my garden so I began to walk faster. At that point, of course, I bumped into a neighbour’s mother. Literally. At first she smiled and laughed and greeted me with great affection and then to my horror I saw her glance down and see the small pointed snout of a hissing chameleon poke its way out of the lid of my basket. The woman’s face changed, her eyes widened and the whites glistened, her mouth dropped open and she looked as if she were about to scream. I backed around her apologising profusely and, whacking the now furious chameleon back into the basket, legged it home.

The chameleon managed to nip me for my trouble as I released it in the safety of my garden and I never saw either of them again, him or the neighbour’s mother…. Or the neighbour for that fact….in fact they may well have moved not much later….

Anyway the reason for the story is that yesterday I was with my pal T in Oxford and discovered Primark and have a gorgeous new coat in exactly the shade of emerald chameleon green. Isn’t that an amazing coincidence… (Well what would you rather…chameleon story or the one about the over whelming smell of vomit in the lingerie department?)

By the I think you should all know that there are a GREAT many people it turns out hording dead cats in their houses too. Following the last couple of posts several of you have shared your secret dead pet stories with me. Grateful as I am, I am feeling much better so…that’s quite enough now.
(And you with the dead horse, you know who you are, seek immediate medical treatment.)

Monday, 12 November 2007

Getting Caned

Ok Ok crazy cat lady is doing better. To you, and you know who you are, who sounded a little nervous about my state of mind, I can honestly say worry not. Matina came back neither in a plastic baggie nor a Tupperware pot but in a beautifully crafted small wooden box that looked like it was full of jewellery- so I promise only WE will know I have a dead cat in my bedroom… (unless of course I go to pull out some earrings in the dark …)

I have just come back from London where we were doing the voice overs for the photo exhibition in December. There will be MP3 players with descriptions and information about each of our photos as well as Braille and a few tactile photos. Bill, the completely blind photographer, was interesting as he says that tactile photos are not much use to either sighted or non-sighted without very clear description. Just too complicated even for very gifted fingers used to Braille.

Also interesting is noticing who uses a cane and who does not. Several of the other VI participants (the Londoner’s) don’t and there is nothing but a quiet caution in their demeanour to denote a visual impairment. I do use a cane, especially when travelling. Normally it doesn’t stop people crashing into me whereupon I always apologise like the dreadful wimp I am. Today however, I am rushing across the platform at Kings Cross and I collide with a woman who literally flies several feet through the air and lands (amazingly) on her feet. She rounds on me puffing up like a balloon, sees the white stick and makes a deflated hissing kind of a noise before apologising profusely. This is a marvellous turnaround. I deliberately bump into a man as I come to the top of the escalator. He turns to bark and I wave the cane. He whimpers with heartfelt abasement. Twice more, as I leap onto the train home and step on two pairs of very expensive boots and leap off the train to nearly demolish a small posse of students, I am given heart felt and overlong ‘so sorries’
Grinning with my new power I stride through the night, head held high and five minutes from home smash painfully into a black bin disguised as night air. Guess who apologised?

Friday, 9 November 2007

Stormy Weather

Well that is interesting…who’d have thought Benezeer ‘let them eat cake’ Bhutto would re-emerge from her silken web of exile as the ‘hero’ in all this…isn’t she still corrupt as all hell?
Ah well.. It’s a strange and stormy world today. Last night they were issuing flood warnings but desperate to ‘fox-it-up’ they inserted old footage, uncaptioned, of the 1953 floods in Netherlands which must have sent nervous children and the deaf rushing to the window to see if the waters were already rising up the back door with distressed men in clogs and the occasional shire horse bobbing past the windows… As it turned out nothing really got that wet. And anyway it would have flooded Lowerstoft…which is not exactly New Orleans. It is a car park, three post offices and a Morrisons.

I lay awake with the window open enough to hear the winds blasting through the garden and knocking tiles off the roofs in Sturton Street.

This morning I had an induction for the Citizen’s Advice Bureau volunteer advisor training scheme. It is pretty weighty stuff, debt counselling, divorce, dementia but I was still feeling dopey and my eyes were/are dreadful. Can’t even see this computer screen screen properly, which makes me a tad irritable. There was one woman that I wanted to leap over the table and head butt. She was sickly sweet and although obviously not dumb she kept asking the most inane and useless questions and then giggling like a child and lisping ‘ but I’m just soooo curious’. My stare could have curdled milk but had absolutely no effect on her whatsoever. It was head butt or nothing. Sadly therefore nothing.

I really need to go and pick up Martina’s ashes. I have been putting it off as I just can’t bear to think of her death again as then I think of Teelo and on and around and over again. It is a little stress syndrome have developed that I may to get help with if it doesn't stop. It is still keeping me awake. It will now be too cold for her in the garden so I shall have to stick her in the bedroom until spring. A dead cat in the bedroom. Sexy or forever single? Discuss.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007


I feel better today,,,,cheery even… which is why I don’t mind that my eyes have smoked up like a car windscreen on a cold day when a whole bunch of you leap in with laughter and friendship and steammmmmm …
So…I don’t mind my eyes smoking up. After all its been grieving and loss and jet lag and then those beautiful things that friends and family do like the notes of support on the email and phone, the cleaning of my sluttish flat, …it all has the effect of leaping into the car after playing Frisbee on a chilly beach. Its ok. It will pass..It’s the macular oedema just messing with my retinas…at least I hope it is because the RP takes the sight away for good and right now that would REALLY piss me off…… although I am having to be a bit more careful and less intrepid as I am knocking over everything and, nearly, everyone.

However, aside from the general death theme of early November, the invitations for the Beyond Sight (multi sensory exhibition by blind and VI) photographic exhibition came through. Photovoice have used my photos on both the invite and their annual report which is a tad head swelling. A lot of the other exhibitors are doing a lot more exciting work then I, espeicially with courage and intuition, but I am used to using props and drama from all my theatre and film training- which is why I believe my stuff gets picked for the promotions. My stuff, therefore, isn't really the key to the exhibition... but I am proud of it. Go and have a look at the strange idea of using a visual media by feel and heart....Exhibition is on 3rd to 8th Dec at the Association of Photographers, 81 Leonard St, London EC2A 4QS (FREE admission mates!) Google Photovoice for more details or email I am still not sure how I feel about it all but I could do with the exposure and perhaps someone out there will commission some crazy blind person’s art work…err…yeah…quite….. Hey come on.. Some people judge the Turner prize….

Tuesday, 6 November 2007


I keep seeing my cat out of the corner of my eye and turn happily to greet her only to find emptiness. It is giving me stomach ache.
I have an urge to head off on another crazy adventure, to just get out of this grief sodden flat... but it is impractical and knuckling under and applying for work is the only way forward. Blast and buggeration. Someone said that applying for jobs, the endless 'why I am great for the job' and ' in my last job I yadda yadda' was like detention for grown ups. 'Tis true but whilst I am waiting to be discovered as the first visually impaired action film icon ( I have my tag line.. not 'I'll be back' but 'See you Never!!' as I blast off their heads with my AK47 before triple vaulting off the top of the burning building. Sick and yet contemporary ironic don'tchathink?) and, as I seem to be writing my best selling novel at one page every two months, finding some paid work is the only option. Christmas is coming after all and someone needs to buy my Dad some more fishing gear....
My Mum and her partner J swung around yesterday in their hired camper van. They plan to disappear off around Europe in one next year but after only four days in the Peak District with water and heating problems they were both looking like they needed some s p a c e. It looked rather fun though, like planning a long stay in a Wendy house.

I also extended my volunteer hours at Citizens Advice Bureau today just to keep away from the flat. I am fielding phone calls and almost everyone has problems a great deal worse then then mine... one woman had managed to stoke up over £80,000 worth of debt without telling her husband! Good grief! She seemed quite matter-of- fact about it though.... I guess when you are in at a certain depth there is no point in panicing anymore...either that or she really didn't like her husband. Either way I got a little more perspective on my own pathetic finances and consquently will buy myself something pretty to celebrate! Makes perfect sense....

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Bleach Bypass

We used a process called ‘bleach bypass’ during the making of one of my early short fiction films called ‘The End of Summer’. It entailed taking the 16-millimetre film through a convoluted system of washes in the lab that result in the picture having a strange, darkened, stormy texture to it. It almost appeared as if certain colors have been washed out and others had had their volume pumped up. Several films had done this before ours…indeed we nicked the idea from ‘Breaking the Waves’ by Lars Van Trier. We used the same lab baths of chemicals as ‘Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrel’s by Guy Ritchie.

The reason I am banging on about this is that with RP, (my eye condition), my colour vision is changing in a strangely similar fashion. Evidently I will loose it all eventually but at the moment there is such an interesting subtle dimming. Elegant almost and not yet melancholy. I am losing definition between browns and dark greens and blues but oranges and definitely reds glow. I can walk down a street and be suddenly surprised and moved by a potted geranium glowing like it’s on fire from a window.

Right now, grieving for Teelo and the cat ('Teelo and the Cat ' is going to be the name of my next rock band..) life is also feeling a little bleached yet also with these remarkable flashes of colour and sweetness. On arrival at JFK airport I had the most efficient and unpatronising assistance ever. Two young women met me politely off the plane and fast tracked me through customs, found my bag without even having to ask and whisked me into a taxi before I could say ‘Have a nice day’. Disabled assistance at airports is one of my particular pet hates and I was so surprised by this turn of events I was still grinning when I stumbled out of the cab in front of my cousin’s house. She was with her three-year-old son, a handsome, curious and sweet boy, Ben, and the three-week-old girl Sophie whose little crumpled face emerged from under a hat that, though a size 0, still fell over her eyes. After being rugby tackled by the spaniel Orson and after Ben had been distracted by my cousin’s husband, she and I ended up at a cocktail bar, her still with the baby strapped to her bosom and me with cane and dark glasses, drinking the finest dry martini in the world. It started a delicious numbness rising from the feet up. By the time we got back to the apartment our tongues were not working. The evening became slightly surreal but somehow, as my cuz’s apartment was full to the very brim, I managed to get to yet another cousin’s apartment by yellow cab in time to politely fake sobriety well enough to be offered a room for the duration.

The next day Ben introduced me to a friend as ‘my cousin…her eyes are broken!’ He was both fascinated, confused and slightly scared of the situation. I showed him how I used my cane to ‘feel’ where things were on my peripheries by tapping around the apartment looking for him. He may need therapy later.
I fell in love with Sophie too. Each day I spent as much time as I could cooing and snoozing with her whilst my cuz got some desperately needed sleep or cooked for Ben or washed endless amounts of poo off various items of clothing. Sometimes my poor cuz would sit on the couch nursing Sophie, nearly weeping with exhaustion but often, when Ben was at school, we would walk and talk and laugh, her with Sophie strapped to her front and me gripping an elbow.
Holding Sophie in my arms was deeply moving. Babies change so fast and I swear in the short time I was there her green eyes began to focus on the world.
Halloween involved Ben in a chicken costume and Sophie oblivious, dressed as a pumpkin. I was ordered into a pair of bunny ears which went well, I thought, with the cane and glasses. Kind-of kinky blind bunny thing. It was hard, given it was New York, to tell who was actually dressing up for Halloween and my cuz and I nearly fell off the pavement with laughter when a tourist approached a tall blonde man in a bathrobe and white socks and asked the significance of his costume only to be told …he wasn’t in costume. The tourist blanched and rapidly backed away.
And then it was time to go and there I was back at JFK. This time when I asked for assistance it all went the usual way… I was asked if I wanted a wheelchair. I pointed out (yet again) that there was nothing the least wrong with my legs but to no avail. So I flailed my way through alone, managing to hold down my dinner through the dreadful hour of turbulence at 35,000 feet when we bumped the edges of hurricane Noel and here I am back in Cambridge.
Coda: I had dreaded coming back to the flat. The last thing I had done was smash up Martina’s bowls in a fit of guilty anguish and I couldn’t for the life of me remember taking out the garbage…but S my dear friend had snuck in whilst I was away and cleaned the whole place from top to bottom, washing and hiding away Martina’s things and leaving a couple of pot plants and a welcome note on my white board. See flashes of great sweetness come out of the blue even when things are all a little grey.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

And the Cat died....

First off my apologies for the long gap in posts but an hour after the last one the vet called to say my wonderful old one toothed, odd purring moggie, Martina, had liver cancer. Within a couple of hours I was holding her in my arms and watching as the vet pushed the plunger on the hyperdermic and her heart was stopped. She just dropped her nose into the crook of my elbow and her little heart stopped. I was beside myself with grief and guilt and even now as I write this, knowing it was only a matter of days for her, my own heart feels black with guilt. I have seen so much death but I have never been the one who signed a life away before.
I was collected from the vet by a friend and another friend later took me to a pub for whiskey but there was no time to gather myself as Teelo's wake was Saturday and I was flying to New York on Monday.
On Saturday morning I walked into the kitchen and smashed Martina's feeding bowl in fury at the week. I felt like a murderer.
All was a blur and then there was the bar and a few of Teelo's friends and a lot of Castle beer. The wake went as these things do, in stages of laughter and weeping and hugging but it was wonderful to be with others as confused and sad as me.
I was given a Sunday sanctuary by two dear friends who let me sleep and then took me to a comedy night in Guildford on Sunday night before dropping me at Gatwick. And then I was 35,000 ft above the Atlantic carrying a heart that weighed a ton and should really have been charged as overweight baggage.
My dreams since hearing about Teelo's death had become violent and disturbing and, apart from one reprise dream which involved George Clooney reading some of my poetry and demanding immediate and elaborate sex (Thanks George and anytime mate...), were causing me to lose sleep. I dreamt Teelo was dead drunk in a ditch with his dreads all caught up and we couldn't sober him up. I dreamt I was killed by a gang of eastern europeans with machetes (which was culturally interesting...) Anyway I was headng for New York and a few days of escapism with an exhausted cousin and new three week baby (plus toddler) and of course dirty martinis, Surely i would find sleep and some relief there!