Archive | June, 2010

Next Week

27 Jun

A visual aid.

I think the coming week or so represent what will go down as an ‘important time’ in the all-too-swift departure from the glory days of my adolescence.  On Monday, I leave the comforts/horrors of Doncaster (after only being ridiculed by boys on small bikes once, shockingly) and hurtle up the country, back to my beloved Newcastle, on the East Coast line’s finest.  And I really do mean finest, as I have managed to book myself a cheap first class advance ticket.  Although, from experience, I have learnt that the true benefits of this luxury are only to be felt pre-8am, when you are offered your very own copy of The Independent and your choice of cereal bar all FOR FREE, the numerous and also free hot drinks are available all the time, always, and I am already looking forward to exploiting them.  My polite request for ‘a pot of hot water for my herbal tea bag, please’ always goes down an absolute treat (read: has probably been spat in, but at least I’m not paying for it!).  Anyway, I feel like I’m getting distracted by my love of pretending I am part of a social elite.  Back to more pressing concerns.

The first grown up task: I HAVE TO MOVE HOUSE. I really hate moving house.  I hate the days it takes to connect to the internet, I hate taking my cleverly-selected-to-make-me-look-intellectual postcards down off the wall and being unable to rearrange them to my satisfaction, I hate landlords who try and pretend you broke their sofa (this was about as smoothly executed as Joey Tribbiani accusing Ross Gellar of breaking his fridge), but most of all, I hate cleaning my old house to meet the impeccable standards of its owners in an attempt to get my deposit back.

I am a very clean person.  This may stem from my immense and somewhat crippling phobia of germs, but it still means I lead my day to day life in an orderly manner and with antibacterial spray never more than a few feet away from kitchen surfaces.  So you would think cleaning the house I share with five other tidy folk would be an easy, few-swishes-of-a-duster job. I thought this the first time I had to move.  I then spent 48 hours cleaning skirting boards (it was a big house), and rapidly changed my mind. There are bits of houses that only mums know about, like the tops of wardrobes, door frames, the aforementioned skirting boards and the insides of extractor fans, that are all full of impenetrable grime that takes hours to shift, even with Mr Muscle’s finest.  So at present, my excitement about my lovely new flat with my boyfriend, Mike, is somewhat dampened by the hours of scrubbing that have to take place before I can move in to it.

The second grown up task: This is not so much grown up in what it entails (wearing Hogwarts attire and walking towards a man in even more extravagant Hogwarts attire to pick up a bit of paper), but in what it represents. I HAVE TO GRADUATE.  I am pretty sure this makes me an official grown up, and upon taking the glorious parchment in my predictably clammy grasp, I will be blessed with worldly knowledge like how to change a watch battery, and how to identify birds from only their mating call.  I am quite looking forward to this for two reasons, principally, that of seeing all my classmates in their finery and getting to snoop at their parents, but also because once the ‘big day’ arrives, my mum can no longer talk to me about what cardigan I am planning on buying to go with my dress/what jacket she should wear/if her shoes look ok/what shoes will go best with my outfit/WHAT BAG/!??!!!!????!1111??! etc.  I am all for new outfits, but there is a limit on the number of times I can hear the word ‘shrug’ without responding with one.  Although with the superhuman maturity I will possess by the end of the week, I could probably take on anything.

ps.  In case you were wondering who drew that incredible piece of artwork that looms large at the beginning of this post, as Mike did when I sent him the original in a moment of childish pride, IT WAS ME. Startling, I know.

I do have a BA Hons now after all.

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pointless points

25 Jun

So, I sort of let my blog die in its infancy. In the manner of many careless parents, this wasn’t a conscious decision, it just sort of happened and my mental capacity no longer seemed to be something I could direct towards responsibility. However, I am BACK. And it really isn’t like I have neglected to write about all the hugely important acts of lifelong significance I have been undertaking since finding myself in the the familiar, depraved location of Doncaster, as I have done NOTHING. It is really quite embarrassing. To the extent that if I think about my worthless existence too extensively, I sink into a week-long depression, that involves sitting on sofa in my room, watching American TV boxsets, forgetting to eat my lunch, and shouting at people who remind me about things like food and washing my hair. Luckily, I have had my completely pointless but dearly beloved career as a part-time school dinnerlady to make me get out of bed at least one day a week, and that has the added bonus of providing me with a nourishing school lunch to make up for all the ones I have neglected to make for myself. Every cloud.

Here are a few, mostly unrelated, observations and remarks about my current day-to-day life. I would try to form a cohesive narrative to make it a bit more interesting, but I don’t think I am up to it at present, which leads me on to Point One:

POINT ONE: I had this horrible week where I thought I had forgotten how to read. Not as in ‘oh dear God, what are these little shapes in clusters of varying length?’, but more like ‘This book is sort of boring, what degree did I do again? Hmmm, maybe I’ll eat a nectarine.’ I am sure you can understand that this was more than a little concerning. I tried to think rationally about my sudden development of ADHD though, and came to a couple of reassuring conclusions, the first being that my brain was rejecting concentration as a form of rebellion after my university assessment period, when I didn’t sleep for four days and had to be taken to my doctor by my boyfriend as I wouldn’t stop crying, and that it would eventually recover, and the second being that the main character of Ian McEwan’s Solar seems like a wanker and I didn’t want to read about him. I moved on to his earlier novel, Saturday, instead, and seem to be faring a lot better now I am reading about a nice man who still wants to have sex with his own wife.

POINT TWO: What is wrong with humans??? Why does everything have to be corporate? I live on a nice street full of nice houses with nice gardens. Or at least I did. But then people realised that the one thing better than having a nice garden is having loads and loads of money, so they keep building giant, ugly houses in them, and then installing huge gates and brick walls around their new mansions to keep out the scum like me who still have trees on their premises. I have had many a rant with my architect father about this, but I think my annoyance can be summarised in this simple sentence: My street looks shit and I keep being woken up by drilling. Give me shouting students any day, at least they’re not awake at 8am.

POINT THREE: I have just spent at least ten hours reading every entry on Slutever. I think the ‘opposites attract’ principle came into play, and I became thoroughly sucked into a world of vile sex and  drugs, food out of supermarket bins and squatting despite my tendency towards panic attacks if I can’t wash my hands before eating and strict following of rules in case someone tells me off.  I dearly love and admire Karley whilst thinking she is completely rank at the same time.  At least I now know that to be cool I need to stop having a shower every day and not pay for accommodation, so at least I’ve learnt something.

POINT FOUR:  I’m going to try my very best to write something here on a regular basis.  I’ll add it to my ‘to do’ list under ‘at least attempt to leave the house every day’ and ‘stop listening to the depressing music you listened to when you got dumped when you were seventeen and crying over your future prospects.’  I think you’ll understand that those need to be my priorities right now.

Springwatch/Frecklewatch

4 Jun

I suppose I am at a bit of a loose end.  Since Ashes to Ashes my undergraduate degree came to an end, I have been faced with few genuine commitments with which to fill my days, and instead, have been attempting to tackle the mountain of books and DVDs I seem to accumulate throughout the academic year, when I know I have no time to read or watch them.  That being said, I did read the entire series of Percy Jackson books in a week, about a month before my dissertation was due in, but we probably shouldn’t talk about such a blatant error of judgement (they were really good though, Twilight < Percy Jackson < Harry Potter).  Anyway, the first bit of recreational reading I indulged in was Christopher Isherwood’s novel A Single Man, recently adapted into a film by Tom Ford.

I have yet to see the film, so I’m sure it’s even worse if you have, but I was plagued by COLIN FIRTH whilst reading, as I just couldn’t imagine him as the protagonist, George.  This is probably due to being conditioned to appreciate him in a good ol’ English rom-com rather than any criticism of Firth’s acting capabilities, but during each passage of dark introspection on George’s part, I couldn’t help but be distracted by my Love Actually saturated brain shouting ‘Colin Firth?????’ at me.  Clearly, I need to see the adaptation to resolve this internal conflict.  Other than that, I loved the book, as much as you can love something so lacking in hope.  After finishing A Single Man, I began Banana Yoshimoto’s novel N.P.

Not Banana Yoshimoto.

I have read, and enjoyed, two of her other books, Kitchen and Asleep, so the style and ambiguity of this one came as no surprise.  I don’t really know how to describe the novel except that is is very obviously a piece of contemporary Japanese fiction, if you are familiar with writers like Haruki Murakami. I suppose Yoshimoto’s work could be seen as quite superficial, as coming to the end of one of her novels leaves you with no sense of understanding, but this seems to be a device to emphasise the frustration of her characters rather than a defect.  That said, this was my least favourite of the novels I have read this author, and although I would highly recommend the other two, this one maybe took nonchalance a little far for my comprehension of the point of the thing.

As it seems a shame to be reading indoors during such an uncommon run of lovely weather, I have been sitting on a rather garish sun lounger donated by my gran.  However, this presents a few problems in itself:
a) I am ginger.  It is over 25 degrees Celsius. And there is only so much high factor sun cream designed for the under 5s can manage.  Needless to say, I am covered in freckles, a bit pink around the forearm, and have a permanent headache despite wearing a hat.
b) By being situated in the garden, I have a first hand perspective on what has become my own personal version of the BBC’s Springwatch.  I am no Kate Humble (far too Yorkshire, far too awkward) but I think my defence of this blue tit nest in a box affixed to my garage:

from this, my beloved and surprisingly agile cat, Sam, has been nothing short of valiant and admirable.

eyes on the prize (a blue tit)

The thought of a single parent blue tit having to provide for what sounds like HUNDREDS of chirping baby birds is enough to bring a tear to my eye.  The hardened Humble, on the other hand, seemed to have no concern for my fragile emotions when she happily narrated footage of a fluffy little blue tit being scoffed by a kestrel, referring to it as ‘good protein’ (!!), and causing me to have to leave the room to avoid hearty sobs into my evening meal.  Natural world, I love you but you’re bringing me down.