Photo: Moving

I took this photo on one of my trips south to visit Jack. I remember this station well, as I don’t normally stop there, and I had an hours wait for my next train. It was freezing cold, and the passenger lounge was locked. I sat on a small railing and read a book to pass the time, and admired the architecture of the huge hall I was waiting in. I was shivering so much and my hands were painful with the cold- when I’d taken the photos I wanted, I rammed my hands back into my pockets. I tried to take these photos surreptitiously, because although I was just a girl admiring the world around me, and wanting to capture a moment in it, I was worried I’d look like I was scoping out the place for somewhere to hide a bomb. It’s often a paranoid world we live in, people.

I travel a lot. I enjoy it, the act of travelling. Particularly by train; I like to buy a hot chocolate and sit with a book and my iPod and just let the train take me where I’m going. Although of course it doesn’t always work out quite so idyllically, and I sometimes end up next to someone eating a tuna sandwich in a confined space, or opposite a man who wants to tell me his life story and show me photos of his son graduating. Which, actually, is sweet, and it’s nice to connect with the people around you… but I find that often when I’m travelling, I’m travelling in my own space and like to enjoy the quiet. The man with the photos is not nearly as bad as the family with the delinquent children. I don’t mean children making noise- that’s just what they do, and it would be ridiculous to expect them to sit still and silent the entire way from Leeds to London. I mean the children who run up and down the aisle, hitting each other and screaming, the children who spent an entire journey opening and closing the toilet door, allowing a fresh waft of stale bleached stifling air into the carriage they did so, and preventing other passengers from using the facilities, even as their mother stood by and spent the entire journey apparently berating the children’s father over the phone. I’d probably berate him too, if they were my kids.

I don’t mind the huge amount of travelling I’ve been doing these past few years; it’s almost always to get to someone I really want to see. At the moment, I don’t think I ever spend more than two weeks in one place. It’s beginning to tire me out, and as much as I enjoy travelling, I am looking forward the time when I can stay in one place for weeks or months, travelling only an hour here or there into the next county to visit family or friends. This is hopefully how it will be when I graduate. I’ve always been vaguely itinerant anyway; coming from an Army family, we moved house every two years and although my parents made a great decision in sending me to boarding school so that I could have one place that remained the same, I still can’t imagine living in one place my whole life, and can’t get my head around the fact that some people do that. We’re moving house soon, an event I wouldn’t even have entertained a year ago. I thought we were finally settled, and I imagined coming home with my children to visit granny and grandpa. Although this house has been my true home for some years now, and I am certainly  sad to have to leave it, particularly in the circumstances that caused it, I feel that it’s not actually that big  a wrench right now. I think, after years of moving house, that I am simply used to the fact that one house isn’t home; that home isn’t a building, it’s the family inside it.

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Photo: Locks

I’ve decided to post a random photo from my computer archive- either daily or weekly, I haven’t decided. I like exploring the thoughts and memories that a photo can provoke, even a photograph I may never have found particularly interesting before.


It makes me sad to look at this picture. I miss my hair looking like that; although I’m always being told that shorter hair makes me look prettier in a ‘more-my-age’ way, I always felt really lovely when I wore my hair down and it curled naturally like that. I didn’t do that often enough.
I miss having red hair but I don’t think it would suit me any more.
I know we must all, at some point, ‘put away childish things’, and it seems that lately that’s what I have to do. Perhaps for me, giving up the red hair is one of those things. Probably not what Paul meant , but still.
I do feel sad looking at this picture, but I also feel happy. I may have to look at it again when I’m not suffering insomnia.

Oops

Heehee. After my last post about not letting November pass me by, December flew right away from me.

I’ll come up with something later, but right now I have an essay to write, and my new years resolution for 2011 is to not let myself down academically.

Happy New Year!

 

Yeah, I’m goofy.

November

I’m not letting November slink past without an update. Here are some things that happened.

I couldn’t sleep.

Neither could Humphrey.

I got dressed up for a birthday party.

My little sister turned 20.

I went home and spent time with my mum, mostly in front of this:

And we both giggled at this:

…and then later, this:

I saw a huge empty nest.

I went back to university.

I admired the fog.

I turned 22.

And I had a party with my friends. Well, a feast.

I was very pink of face.

I wore a tiara and turned very red of face as TGIs sang Happy Birthday to me.

And, yesterday, I was swept through campus and into my Shakespeare seminar by hundreds of student protesters.

Other November things…Today it snowed. I went on a FABULOUS spa day with my two oldest friends, but haven’t seen any photos yet. I was rejected by Southampton for PGCE, and am waiting to hear from Portsmouth. I took a very deep breath and revealed what I’ve always wanted to do and sent off an application to train as a midwife.  I read ‘I Shall Wear Midnight’ by Terry Pratchett. I was thrilled for Prince William and Catherine Middleton, and coveted her dress. And her hair. And ok, maybe also that huge ring and the fact that she will soon be a real live princess.

This November has definitely been one of highs and lows. I’m looking forward to December now.

 

An October Sunday on t’Moor

Lovely, lovely weekend.

I AM INVINCIBLE!

The above title needs to be pronounced a la Alan Cumming in Goldeneye (by the way, if you’ve never seen him as Emcee in Cabaret, get thee to Youtube and bask in the freakiness. So good).

I recently had two MAJOR triumphs over bureaucracy and The System. I’m very proud of myself.

It’s a very long story (which I may at some point tell), but yesterday I ended up having to cancel my contract with 3. Mostly, to tell the short version, because they’re bad. Bad bad people. A series of events led to me spending AN HOUR on the phone to customer services, wandering up and down Briggate in Leeds, getting bad looks from rah girls I kept accidentally crab walking, and ogling all the unbelievably cute babies out and about today. Seriously, it was like an adorable baby and happy parent parade. Have you seen Father of the Bride 2? It was like Nina’s side of the road.

However, all this chubby cheeked joy could not detract from the misery of being passed around no less than 7 different customer service operators, all definitely in Mumbai, some definitely not able to speak much English other than the words on their scripts. There may have been more than 7 people, I lost count. I got put on hold a million times, where they played me Lady Gaga, Boston, and Diana Vickers. It was odd.

In the end, through an artful combination of righteous anger, calm rationality, deep disappointment and an absolute determination that I was in the right and would get my way, they agreed to terminate my contract free of charge. They were originally going to charge me over £300. I told the guys in Phones4U what I’d achieved and they offered me a job, ha.

The only worry is that they said someone would phone me within 24 hours to arrange the cancellation… I’m getting a bit nervous that it won’t happen. Well, if it doesn’t happen, I’m phoning them again, and then I’m emailing Watchdog. Lets see how 3 like them apples. Them Ann Robinson apples.

To reward myself for being so patient and kick-ass, I went to HMV and bought Muppets Treasure Island on DVD. If you haven’t seen it, you’re missing out on a very fabulous Tim Curry as Long John Silver, and a really nice running joke about Fozzie and the man who lives in his finger. I’m not selling it very well, but trust me. Also, there’s a certain connotation in the way Miss Piggy says, “Why hello, Loooong John” that I didn’t get when I was younger, but changed my view of Piggy forever once I realised.

But I digress. That evening, having watched Aladdin with the girls (and ruined it for Katherine by pointing out that Aladdin looks like Ben Stiller and Jasmine looks like Janice from Friends) and feasted on an enormous red wine spaghetti bolognaise, I finally defeated the biggest bureaucracy monster currently menacing my innocent life- the Genuinely Terrifying and Torturous Rage-osaur. Also known as the GTTR, more commonly understood to mean the Graduate Teacher Training Registry.

So, I had worked pretty hard on my personal statement, and consulted one or two learned people three or four million times just to get it to the point where I felt it both represented me, and sold me, to universities. I waited eagerly for the applications to open online, because I wanted to get in there as early as possible- I’ve mentioned before the cut-throat nature of the selection process. Finally the day came, I logged on and… the form was so full of glitches that I couldn’t even fill it out. I couldn’t add my degree to the form because there was no option for people who are graduating this year! Bizarre, considering the majority of first time applicants are probably in their final year of uni.

I couldn’t add my reference to the form because it wouldn’t believe that I’d put her phone number into the required box. It wouldn’t let me add any GCSE’s to the form other than English and Maths. It was most frustrating. So, it’s been a good few weeks now, in which I’ve tried the form at least twice every day to see if it was working yet. I’ve spoken to their customer services a few times as well (although they’re so busy there were often occasions when they couldn’t even put me in the queue to be spoken to). Their reps were so much more friendly and helpful than 3’s, which is a credit to them. Well, not really. It’s not hard to be better than 3. But the GTTR staff were very polite and understanding, which I thought was brilliant considering how cahrazy busy it must be for them right now. I didn’t even have to use righteous anger or anything.

But I just find it so ridiculous that they don’t seem to have road-tested the form before sending it out to thousands of people. And every applicant was having different glitches, so they couldn’t even just change the whole thing. The amount of time it took for things to start working was unbelievable… I became pretty certain that their technicians who were working on the ‘essential maintenance’ actually consisted of Neil and Bob from IT, fiddling around a bit with the system during breaks from Call of Duty.

Anyway, yesterday I phoned customer services again and stated the final issues with my form (not being able to input my GCSEs). The lady took my ID number, promised to send it to Neil and Bob, and sent me on my merry way. Fast forward to 11.30 last night, I’m idly clicking away on GTTR on the off chance, all previous hope and butterflies having being extinguished by weeks of disappointment. I didn’t even cross my fingers when I clicked ‘Save’. But suddenly! My AQA double award Science GCSE (CC, I’m no Einstein) saved! It was on the form! RWAHAHAHAHA! I may in fact have actually said ‘RWAHAHAHAHA!’ to Jack down the phone, which he took as an excuse to say goodnight and leave his crazy girlfriend to apply for teacher training. Which she did.

And now I have finished the form, clicked some buttons, and am just waiting for my tutor to give a reference and then WHEEEEE, off it goes! To Southampton, Portsmouth, Bath and Bristol.

And now is the time to cross my fingers and be patient. Hmm, patience -not my strong point.  But keep that under your hat, because apparently patience is vital to be a teacher. Patience and a sense of humour. Maybe I can just deploy the sense of humour when the patience is wearing thin.

Oven Roast Happiness

I just had the most fantastically delicious roast chicken dinner with my new (and old) flatmates, followed by a splendiferous chocolate cake. This was my first roast potato triumph, as all the times previously I was using an almost useless oven supplied by a landlady who probably nabbed it from some people on their way to the tip. I am very proud of those potatoes. I love my housemates. That dinner was so good it warranted a blog post all of its own.

Mmmmmm.

Anchors

Warning: Here follows a somewhat self-indulgent introspective piece of writing. If this is not your cuppa tea, scroll down to the previous post for an awesome picture of a hedgehog.

In some ways, becoming a young adult is more confusing for me than being a teenager. At least when I was a teen I knew who I was and what I liked; I was a daydreaming drama queen who had highs and lows but always found it easy to grab the spotlight and loved to share it with her gorgeous boyfriend. Now, I’m somewhat mellowed, but not sure if that’s out of necessity or if it’s because I have been through some really low points over the past two years and don’t remember how to get back to the feeling of vitality I used to have. I don’t miss the drama; getting really upset or really angry because I was ‘good at it’… I may have been good at it, but deep down it made me miserable, because anger, as Yoda tells us, is never really a good thing.

I do miss feeling glamorous and attractive and almost entirely sure of myself, and again, I’m not sure if those things were the product of having a very nice flat tummy and acting in plays or if they were just my general state of being before I went to university, had my heart broken (and mended), found that university wasn’t what I was expecting, was repeatedly disappointed in various parts of my life, spent about a month in bed with various –itis’ (tonsil, bronch and flu, not an –itis, but a pain all the same), and then my family issues (‘family issues’, pah. Issues doesn’t cover it) at the end of last academic year and throughout this summer. I think I have somewhat been through the ringer, and perhaps this slight feeling of numbness and dissociation with the world I’m feeling at the moment is due to some sort of self-preservation strategy.  This makes me sound like I’m going through life in some sort of soporific apathy at the moment, but I’m really not! I do feel happy and excited- to see my friends, to have phone calls from my mum and to speak to Jack, to cook pasta and to watch Mulan on DVD. But sometimes I still feel a little bit like I’m watching my life from the outside, and it’s not exactly Emmy-award winning. This dissociation may in fact also be the result of a night out last night that left me feeling tired and missing Jack… I am simply not the sort of person who belongs in Vodka Revs listening to what I would term A Terrible Racket. I was wearing Victorian style boots and a Guns N’Roses t-shirt.

I made it sound like I was some sort of shallow, vain, attention seeking teenager. That’s not true. Of course I was vain and attention seeking, I was a teenage girl… but I wsn’t shallow. I still cared deeply about friends and family, enjoyed things I love now like books, films, dogs and basmati rice with ham. So I know it was me, back then. It was certainly me who fell in love with Jack. That feeling and that relationship have changed and grown along with me (and him, too I suppose). In fact, all my relationships- with my family and my school friends- have changed as we’ve all ‘grown emotionally’. We’re on a ‘journey’ as celebrities would say.

So when I do feel myself drifting away from my self, these things are my anchors; Jack, mum, dad, Fiona, my close friends, my pets, my love of food, my love of books, my love of music, and my love of OrlandoBloom’s face. I think what I’m trying to express, is that I need to find the new me. I’ve just emerged from a difficult and strange couple of years (which have nonetheless contained a lot of happiness, please don’t think I am ungrateful for all the fantastic times I’ve had), and am kind of patting myself down to check that I’m still all here. I look back at myself before all this happened, and although I recognize that girl and know how I got from her to here, I’m not sure that in my search for an identity that I’m happy with, reverting to her styles and habits would really suit me now, as an almost-22-year-old.

Perhaps, the answer is just to chill the hell out. Enjoy what I enjoy, learn from things that go wrong and just rely on my anchors to get me through. Stop thinking too much, that’s probably the key.

HEDGEHOG!

Today is a beautiful, breezy and bright beginning-of-Autumn day in leafy Lincolnshire.

In fact, it’s such a gorgeous day that even nocturnal animals have come out to enjoy it in our garden:

So cool.

CJ

Sometimes the conversations I have with people can be so bizarre, particularly when snippets are taken out of context. I sometimes imagine there’s someone out there reading my conversations as printed transcripts -I’m not sure who, exactly… the FBI? God? The secret hidden director of The Sarah Show? Anyway, this was one such moment between my sister and I the other day-

S: I would totally kiss Alison Janney, wouldn’t you?

F: Hmm…

*F mimes kissing a very tall person*

[BEAT]

S: I would kiss Alison Janney’s tummy.