Thursday, 18 February 2010


This is kind of self explanatory, but seeing as I hate to even come close to under explaining things, I will now expound fulsomely about why I won't be expounding fulsomely.

This blog started out because I was bored one Saturday afternoon. It didn't have a plan and it didn't really need one, because I had lots of random things that I could write about without getting overly personal. Then I came home. And I started wanting to write more honestly. But because I'd given this site out to people in my life who I'm extremely uncomfortable being emotionally honest with and because I somehow swallowed a whole bunch of 'shoulds' about what you should write on a blog, I kept writing posts that skirted the truth, that were the equivalent of going 'look, there's a sparrow' when two elephant's are copulating in front you.

And the result is that I've come to despise the majority of stuff I've posted here. I'm not being honest, and have managed to create a situation where I'm being a heavily edited version of myself with the entire internet as well as the majority of people I know. Fucking awesome. Which is probably the first time I've sworn on this blog, because although I swear quite frequently in real life, I don't do it here because I think then people wouldn't like me. Why would I want people to read my blog who would hate me if they met me?

So I'm going to work out what I want to write about, find myself a space to do that is actually for myself and not whichever flavour of the month I think I should be, and then, I'll be back.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Winter Light

This was a close up of a beach hut panel:

Which world will you visit this week?

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Gratitude: Bridges, Arm Waving and Stuff

me and bridges and stuff

Another week has gone by with my poor little blog being all neglected, mainly because the energy I started out with on Monday morphed into spending Saturday morning lying in bed, propped up against my pillows feeling so exhausted that reading was difficult.

It's been tempting during the last month or so to get really frustrated with my body and feel that it has been failing me, defaulting back into that strange mindset where I see my body as not only totally separate from myself but clearly out to get me, with illness being it's principle weapon. Yes, I know that's clearly slightly barking and horribly unhealthy, and I much prefer living without this weird thought pattern. So I'm very grateful that when I've had the occasional moment of thinking 'bloody useless body, it's doing this just to make my life difficult' I've been able to take a step away from the self-loathing and realise that everyone gets sick sometimes, it's not a moral failing and that I'm doing the best I can, and that's OK.

I'm grateful for Havi's blog, about destuckification and being a harbour seal, pretty much every time I read it. This week she wrote about bridges, and kaboom! Instant clarity dose. Immediately I thought of Amsterdam, it's hundreds of bicycle festooned bridges and how much I enjoyed wandering around it and discovering the next street, the next wall plaque, the next museum, the next café. Could I have done that if I was trying to cross all the bridges at once, and then berating myself for being too lazy when I failed at doing something that that was impossible?

No, and I wouldn't have enjoyed my trip either. But that's what I've been trying to do, thinking that I need to be crossing every bridge possible, right now. Some things are going to have to go, especially the feeling that I have to hurry through everything I'm doing and that if I'm doing something I enjoy that's clearly a selfish indulgence and obviously I should be doing something else instead. (Personally I blame tedious homework for this attitude!)

Gratitude number three is that waving my arms around is helping me rejig my thought patterns. I was slightly cynical when I first read about Shiva Nata, particularly after some of my not-very-enlightening yogic experiences. But this is tagged as delivering hot buttered epiphanies and at this rate I'll have to buy a new butter knife. This deserves a whole post to itself, preferably written when I'm more or less sure than my brain is fully functional.

And my last gratitude? Laughter. Despite feeling a bit bleugh I've laughed a lot, enough to snort piggishly and spit drink on myself. I've just spent about five minutes working out how to write this last sentence because it makes a large part of me want to vomit, so I'll just have to get it out in a rush and then hope I don't besmirch my bedspread: to me, this is how I would define being blessed.

There! And know I've realised that even though this post is probably far too long, I have one more thing I'm grateful for: all of you who come here and read and leave me wonderful comments. I've appreciated your support so much recently. Thank you!

Monday, 1 February 2010

Loose and Periodic Cross The Road.

our quiet side road

Death had to be hovering nearby. Our taxi driver swerved, banged his horn, slammed on his brakes to avoid a bus pulling out, cut up other cars avoiding a collision by millimetres, smacked the horn again and nearly ran over a cyclist, and I viewed all this when I was almost delirious from three hours sleep in 48 hours, jet-lag, and brain melting humidity. How was I going to be able to live here when surely I was going to get run down just going to the shops?

I'd assured myself I'd prepared well. I'd read about Beijing's crazy traffic, but speeding through the city on the way to train station, it had been busy but orderly - packed cycle lanes fenced off from the roads of nose to tail traffic. Here, there were parked mopeds in the cycle lane, so bicycles and scooter and these ubiquitous moto-carts in spilled out in to the car lane, where buses and taxis jockeyed to occupy the same bit of potholed tarmac at the same time. Oh yes, and even if the pedestrian crossing was working, cars and bikes and those damn moto-carts that snuck up on you without you hearing until you had to leap out of their path at the last minute could still turn.

“How do you cross the road without dying?” I asked my new found friends at dinner. They were still alive after a month, so I figured they had to be doing something right.

“You just have to step out. The traffic will flow around you.” This was not entirely the response I had hoped for. The only image of flow I had was of my body flowing into the road under the wheels of one of the lumbering green buses that my taxi driver had suicidally refused to defer to.

On those first solo trips to the supermarket or park, my concentration on the traffic was so great I didn't even notice the yells of 'hello' that would infuriate me so much in later months. I'd risk whiplash trying to keep all areas under surveillance, yet still a horn parmp or bell ring would send me leaping forwards in panic. A month passed. Nothing hit me. I became more confident, and made sure I never told my parents about how we'd stand in the middle of six or eight lane roads, waiting for the gaps to appear, or the maniacal taxi drivers that would bring me home most nights.

Spring came. I'd learnt to ride on the back of a bike without holding on, or flinching in terror as cars squeezed past. I'd step out and let the traffic flow around me. One day, on the way to the supermarket, I stood on the white line as a bus thundered past on each side, only centimetres of swooshing air between me and several tonnes of metal. My residency was stamped.

* * * * *

This is an exercise I did for my writing class, and I thought, recycle, save the world...or my fingertips from suffering typing related erosion. Anyway, the point of it was to use a combination of loose and periodic sentences, preferably topped off with a soliloquy. I kind of flaked out with the soliloquy, as the nearest I ever get to one is rushing about before I leave the house in the morning, patting various pockets going, 'Phone. Lunch. Argh, do I have my locker key? Do I have my security card? Forgot my scarf. Where's my scarf? Which fool put my scarf in my bedroom when it should clearly be left by the door?...' and so on. I figure I can persecute you all with it, but I might leave it a few weeks before revealing to my fellow students that I have the brain of an eighty year old who goes to the shop in her slippers.

But anyway, back to concept of loose and periodic. Does anyone else think periodic has got a really bad deal here in the naming stakes? Loose sentences are well, loose, and long, and delaying gratification. Loose sentences probably spend their down time being bought champagne cocktails and dancing on tables. Whereas periodic sentences... I imagine them loitering in an under heated area of the office, and trying to impress the newbie with their hard won precise knowledge before slinking off to eat a cheese sandwich alone.

Or, you know, that could just be me.

Want other 'unique' world views? Clicky here.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Gratitude: The Spoilt Cat Edition

Obviously, this is being written on a Saturday rather than a Friday, to the accompaniment of ferocious purring from the spoilt, silken pawed cat who has decided to curl up on my 'work' cushion and cosy fake fur lined hoodie. Yesterday I went out for pay day wine and nachos, my first social outing since New Year's weekend, a cause for gratitude in itself.

I'm also grateful that the post viral fatigue that laid me low last weekend and at the beginning of the week seems to be easing off, and I'm glad that I was able to resist my inner workaholic and tell myself that taking a few days off from MA work was not going to lead to me failing the course.

Gratitude item number three is that I've been getting on well with my work colleagues. Although I'm not the most extroverted person (on Myer Briggs personality tests I'm always on the I/E borderline), before this autumn I always took it for granted that I tend to get on well with most people, even if I occasionally had to bite my tongue. And then I started working at the school where none of the other staff would talk to me. I know that you 'should' say that I'm indifferent to other people's opinions of me, but being isolated like that was incredibly depressing and somehow dehumanising. So I've been doubly appreciating the gossipy, giggly re-entry into work place banter, where the works of SClub7 suddenly becomes a completely viable topic of conversation.

And there's the stunning glimpses of sunrises and sunsets I've had on my walks to and from work. One sunrise was this incredible fuchsia colour bomb, just what I need to perk myself up on the chilly trek home.

My last item is probably going to mark me out as a big cat scaring meanie, but seeing Stanley (white and ginger cat) running away from the clockwork mouse he was meant to be chasing...well, how could you not laugh?

Monday, 25 January 2010

Mudlarks....Or Not

The sun came out on Saturday, suddenly making the idea of frisking about the countryside sound rather appealing. Almost twelve hours of sleep the night before had rebooted my perkiness levels too.

But by the time we got out to our chosen bucolic spot, the sun had finished teasing us and retreated to put his feet up and have a cup of tea. The river bank got muddier and muddier, the stiles more difficult to get over, and as my energy levels went into a vertiginous decline the sky took on a steely hue and a bitter wind blew up. The landscape looked so bleak that by the time we decided to turn back, I wouldn't have been surprised if we'd stumbled upon some Dickensian urchins living in a shack.

It was one of those moments, which if you put into a story people would slate it as unbelievable overkill - look we can see she's exhausted and feels like the piffling distance back to the car might as well be 10 miles, we don't need to see her struggling to remove her wellington boot from a patch of particularly glutinous mud, and as for the general sense of desolation, come on! What I was thinking, however, was more like, OK universe, YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING ME.

Anyway, check out slices of the world this week.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Blank Friday

I'm grateful that someone was walking down our quiet suburban road at 4.30 am and saw that some crazed arsonist had set fire to our neighbour's car. Luckily, the horrendous scenario where the fire spread from that car to their car and our car, and then leapt the few feet to our houses, and then the houses that we share party walls with, exists only in anxiety seized imaginations.

Apart from that this week has been a bit...blank. I spent most of last weekend fighting off some sort of immune invasion that made one of my tonsils swell up and ulcerate. I can now say that I've actually coughed up a bit of tonsil, a (hopefully) unique experience that I was not particularly looking to tick off my before 30 list.

And then I've spent most of the last week in that kind of dazed post viral fog where your brain drifts off halfway through a it just did there, and I find myself zoned out and staring into space...with no idea how to end this blog post...