Archive | October, 2010


29 Oct


I hate winter.  Well, I suppose that it is technically autumn, but in my mind they are one and the same, ie. equally distressing.  Here is why:

1) It gets dark really early.

This is a problem both on an aesthetic level and a danger one.  A dark and gloomy evening does not please my eyes in the same way a crisp and sunny morning does, especially as the former really lends itself to muggings/general attacks.  Also, I am forgetful and sometimes fail to remember to shut my horizontal blinds, meaning everyone can see into my bedroom, which faces directly onto the street.  There is a small acer tree in the way, but because it is autumn its leaves have fallen off, leaving an entirely unrestricted view.  So now everyone can see me sitting on my computer watching Miley Cyrus videos when I should be working.  Or worse, in my pants.

The man from down the road who doesn't throw anything away is probably watching me.

2) It is cold.

I don’t like being cold.  It is marginally better than being too hot (Crete, 2010) but that is a rare occurrence in England during the summer.  In fact, I am far more likely to be too hot in England in winter, as everyone goes mad and puts their heating on all day to combat the fact that it is cold.  This creates terrible dilemmas when getting dressed; do you put on the thick knitwear necessary to survive the walk into university, or shiver all the way there and not boil yourself in the inevitably overheated lecture theatre you are heading to? Something of a temperature Catch-22.

3) Everyone gets ill.

Due to my clinical phobia of vomiting, this is possibly my least favourite aspect of these dark times.  Not only is it bad enough that everyone starts coughing and sneezing in the small enclosed areas that they are forced to stay in because it is too cold to be outside, but also the news starts to channel its inner Daily Mail and report every single stomach bug outbreak in meticulous and hyperbolic detail.  This leads me to either refuse to leave my house, or to wash my hands so often that they look like dead lizards, neither of which is an asset towards leading a normal life.

4) Waking up in the dark.

Anyone who likes this needs to have a good, long think about what is wrong with them. Bonus hatred point: it being too cold to get out of bed/get out of the shower once you have managed to get out of bed.

In the interest of presenting a balanced argument, here are the things I like about this time of year:

1) The clothes.

A palate of rust red, beige, dark green, grey, navy and black is far more favourable to a ginger’s complexion than anything bright and summery.  Also, the clothes are, in general, both thicker and fully concealing, negating the need for fake tan to make my corpse-hued limbs acceptable.

2) The food.

Barbeques = food poisoning parties.  A winter stew cooked in the oven at 200 degrees Celsius for six hours = delicious and a safe bet. Also, no wasps.

Even by my poor maths skills, I can see that four is more than two, and thus, that autumn/winter are dreadful.  Now, excuse me while I go back to slitting my wrists over this remark from my new nemesis, Aijaz Ahmad, ‘Rare would be a literary theorist in Europe or the USA who does not command a couple of European languages besides his or her own…’.  I am doomed to the life of a secondary school teacher, dropping Spanish after AS level was a terrible mistake.



23 Oct

I am at home for the weekend for my monthly (ish) check in with/check up on my parents.  This visit had the ulterior motive of wanting a shopping trip to stock up on warm clothing for my fourth Newcastle winter.  Either I was looking especially shabby and pathetic or my mum was feeling particularly generous, as I now have enough clothing in the wintery hues I long for all summer to save me buying anything new until spring.  How do I know I’m getting old? Other than the fact that I am now a postgraduate student, my favourite purchases of the day came from Marks and Spencer.  A definite sign of maturity.

The rest of my time at home promises plenty of hot drinks, a Sunday dinner and, unfortunately, hours of reading on the sofa to get next week’s university work out of the way.  A day lost to postcolonialism isn’t exactly my cup of tea, but I think it’s a bit too soon in the semester to be having to keep out of the firing line in seminars to avoid humiliating ignorance.

Here is a picture of the free pair of ‘gloves’ I found attached to a hat I bought today.  Gloves is maybe being a bit liberal; I think their technical term may be fingerless mittens as they don’t even have the little finger holes of the fingerless gloves coveted by market traders and fairground workers alike.  Anyway, they are completely pointless, but rather nice all the same.

I never thought of it that way

20 Oct

New fringes, vegetable boxes, culinary feats and clean plate awards.

October has, so far at least, been dominated by extensive reading about bleak subjects like epitaphs and collective memories of trauma, due to the fact that I have accidentally taken an MA in Death Studies rather than Literary ones.  Obviously this work has had to fit in with my Autumn television schedule, which at the moment includes Mad Men, Downton Abbey (The Sunday Times featured a quote from my dissertation tutor –  ‘Downton Abbey is dire’ – I was ashamed), A History of Horror, my daily dose of three episodes of Friends a day, Lip Service and, finally, X Factor. Stop judging me.

I love my flat, I love the sweet domestication I have slipped into with Mike after a summer of being mothered, I love cooking and accepting the vegetable box challenge (I refuse to bin a solitary carrot), I love my kind neighbours and I love always having room in the fridge and freezer.  However, I hate the cold and I hate seminars that don’t finish until 7pm and I really, really hate my new student card picture (‘you look like you could be either four or forty, I can’t decide…’).

I will leave with a picture of the romanesco cauliflower I received this morning and at present don’t quite know how to approach, and my favourite statement from my reading so far:


‘Do not fear to remember too much; only be upon your guard not to forget anything that is worthy to be remembered’ – William Godwin.