Saturday, December 23, 2006

Five things...

I am very excited about being tagged by Fat Roland - it makes me feel very important. Thinking of five things which people are unlikely to know about me but likely to want to know is a bit difficult but I'll give it a go...

1. Marmite may have saved my life: I did a gap year in Uganda in 1997-98 and was not very happy or very well. I had malaria twice and dysentry for the best part of 10 months and screaming nightmares most nights. We spent three months living in little villages in north Uganda where people don't always wear clothes. But I was quite ill - I spent a lot of the time lying on my 'bed' except for when I had to crawl to the pit latrine. So they sent me back to civilisation where I felt ill and didn't want to eat anything but Marmite on toast. An expat very kindly made the necessary sacrifices and voila, I am still alive.

2. I haven't played original Monopoly for 5 or 6 years: I realised that I was too competetive and only nejoyed playing if I was winning and even then felt very tense because I might stop winning, so it was no fun for me or for anyone else. I made a New Year's resolution not to play any more and am much happier. I have played Muppet monopoly and I believe I might even have won - but if you aren't fighting for Mayfair and Park Lane, it just isn't the same...

3. I have recently learnt to enjoy shopping: I used to hate it but now, finally, we have enough money that it doesn't have to be the perfect jumper, beacuse I can buy another one if I want to. And it's not a choice between clothes and food any more so I don't feel guilty. I still hate the crowds but the decision-making is much less stressful.

4. I don't like buttons. I don't know why. But I don't like clothes with them on, I don't like seeing them on other people's clothes and I don't like reading or saying the word. I do have two shirts which have them on, which I'm not particularly happy about, but I won't buy anything which has decorative ones or fancy or oversized ones. I also don't buy cardigans or big winter coats due to nearly always having them on. I don't remember anything traumatic in my childhood which could cause this dislike. It's just a bit weird.

5. I passed my driving theory test yesterday so am now theoretically safe to drive. Next week - three point turns!

So, I tag Rexor, Tony, Jolan, Em and Sheepy. Go go go!

Edit: I changed no. 4 from something about my family to something a bit more interesting.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Feeling less than human...

There are some things which irritate me about blogs.

1. Being asked to prove I'm human by trying to decipher illegible, slanty words in a wiggly blurry font. Ben's blog puts it like this:

"Not a spammer? You can post your comment by proving that you're a human below."

I know spam is bad. I've had spam on my blog. I just can't always tell the difference between the letters...

2. People referring to other people by just their initial. Again, I know there are good reasons for this. And I have been picked up on my blog before for using people's names when they'd rather I didn't. But names are nice. And if I know who you are, and I know who you're referring to, I would like it if you used their whole name.

What do you mean, you don't actually blog entirely for my benefit? How does that work, eh?

Maybe I'm just a bit irritable today.

Is blogging about bloggin a bit like reading the media supplement in the Guardian?

Friday, December 15, 2006

Baby, it's cold outside

We have bought a big new fridge with a whole freezer compartment, to use rather than the under-the-counter fridge with icebox we've used up til now. This is much better but not as wildly exciting as I had imagined it would be. Maybe I'm just not one of life's natural consumers.

Because of this (the new fridge, not the state of being a consumer - or not) I cleaned out the old one. I really like doing this every once in a while. Not as much as having a lie in, for example, but it involved spilling water across the whole floor and putting bowls of hot water in the freezer to defrost it. It's just a bit messy.

I have another driving lesson tomorrow and my theory test next Friday. I'm fairly confident as I can answer most of the questions i the book of questions and one of the ones I can't usually answer is about towing caravans, which doesn't feel like vital knowledge to non-caravan-towing me. Last week I did driving in the dark at rush hour and, as I survived (despite the best effort of driver-turning-right-in-front-of-me-without-indicating), I feel quite competent and it did push me, so it was quite good. Think I'll be doing roundabouts tomorrow.

Also tomorrow is Sanctus's Christmas Ceilidh which I have helped to organise. I have a lovely new skirt for this (there's some words my mother probably would never have expected to hear from me when I was growing up) but I'm not expecting to do too much dancing. After a wedding and a christmas do involving dancing, both with ankle-pain afterwards, I think I'll be semi-sensible.

Blogger are offering a new Beta Blogger system. Doesn't look too different except you sign in with a googlemail address (which I have) and can have a private blog. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

Here ends the world's longest blog post ever...

Monday, December 04, 2006

Well, it IS Christmas

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Always wrapping paper. I love wrapping presents! Sometimes more successfully than others, but I really enjoy doing it.

2. Real tree or artificial? I love real Christmas trees. The smell is the thing. When I was younger I used to make my Mum buy ones which were quite clearly too big for the living room. Sadly, Matt isn't game for cutting the top off the tree. So we just get one that fits.

3. When do you put up the tree? Once it's December and we have an opportunity to get one.

4. When do you take the tree down? As late as I can get away with. Preferable before it's really dead.

5. Do you like eggnog? No. My favourite Christmas drink is spiced hot apple juice. It's apple juice with cloves and cinnamon in, heated up. I'm always happy to drink vodka and coke as well...

6. Do you have a nativity scene? No.

7. Mail or email Christmas cards? Post every time. I have actually written all of them. They're waiting for Matt to sign them so they can be posted next weekend. Last year we left it so late that they probably arrived after Christmas, if at all. Sorry about that!

8. Favorite Christmas Movie? I used to love Digby the Biggest Dog in the World. But they don't show it any more. I always cry at ET too. Not really Christmassy but I do like them.

9. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Chocolate. Especially Christmas tree chocolates earlier than Christmas Day because we were never allowed to at home.

10. Clear lights or coloured on the tree? Clear

11. Favorite Christmas song? I don't really have one.

12. Travel at Christmas or stay home? I like having Christmas at home. This year most of my family are coming for Christmas Day and I'm excited/nervous. Matt was asked to swap his Christmas night shift for someone else's Christmas Eve shift so I am very happy to have my husband at home for the whole of Christmas day. Though he'll be asleep in the morning.

13. Angel on the tree top or a star? We don't actually have either but I'd like a star.

14. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Opening stockings on Christmas morning and then the rest of the presents after lunch.

15. Most annoying thing about this time of year? It's so cold and dark...

16. Favourite for Christmas dinner? Turkey is traditional. One year I helped at a lunch for lonely old people and had my Christmas dinner later than everyone else, and I had a turkey sandwich, which I liked very much. Christmassy without the fuss.

Thanks to Mary Beth for this...

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Christmas doings

Last night was the work Christmas do, which I was really quite nervous about. I've never been to proper one before due to not having worked anywhere that had them. It was a nearly entirely enjoyable evening - a couple of people snogging people who weren't the people they were going out with and a few of those 'who can I find to talk to so I don't look like I have no friends?' moments. It was my first time in footwear other than steal-toe-capped safety boots since my leg came out of plaster, which was brilliant but now launches me back into the world of havig to make decisions about shoes. I danced a lot and re-discovered that I just can't dance with other people. It involves too much co-ordination and working out what the other person is goig to do and what they expect you to do. But I had a lot of fun dancing with people anyway. And I only fell over once.

Managed to resist the pressure to drink too much ("I have a driving lesson tomorrow") and go out in Staly Vega afterwards ("I have a drinving lesson tomorrow") and it was very nice to come home to my lovely husband and my nice warm bed.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Man-flu crosses gender boundaries

I am ill.

I really am.

But probably not as ill as I think I feel.

I have a cold. I feel rubbish. My throat hurts. I feel quite pathetic and self-pitying. I have spent most of the weekend lying on the sofa telling Matt that I think I'm going to die.

This is man-flu. I am not a man.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Flash! A-aah!

A few weeks ago we looked after **i* and R***'s gerbils while they were in Canadia. They wre pretty annoying - they'd always make scrabbling noises in the corner of their tank while we were trying to watch tv - and it's pretty disconcerting to hear funny noises in the house when you know you're the only peron in it.

But once they'd gone, we missed them. And they were pretty cute. So on Monday we went out and bought some gerbils of our own. Matt's is black and is called Scamp. Mine is black and white and is called Flash. And is quite clearly much cuter.

Sadly, however, they do not seem to like us very much. They hide in their play tunnel and only come out when we're not looking. This makes me quite sad. I hope eventually they get used to us and want to be friends with us...

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Driving in my car

When I was 17 I had driving lessons for about 9 months, which seemed to be largely successful. On my instructor's suggestion I put in for my test. Then he retired on medical grounds and I tried two other driving instructors who said that there was no way I was taking the test in their car because I was too dangerous.

I had about 6 lessons in my second year of uni but did't get any further than that.

Yesterday I had my first driving lesson for my third attempt - hopefully this time I will get to taking a test! I would like to be able to drivie so that I can get promoted at work, contribute to the annual drive to Skye with Matt and Hil and argue with Matt about who gets to drink.

It was a bit scary trying to do things like get out of junctions. I had a hairy moment when I realised the road wasn't going where I expected it to, turned, turned back, panicked and stopped in the middle of a junction. But mostly I think I did quite well. Lots to work on, but I think that for a first go, I did pretty well.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Meatloaf and happiness

I have just added a few more albums to my mp3 player and now it is full! I bought two cds last week - Crazy Itch Radio by Basement Jaxx, because I really like 'take me back to your house' and I knew that if I didn't really like the rest of it Matt would - and The Best of Meatloaf. I don't have a senes of shame, exactly, about buying a Meatload CD but I am aware that it's not necessarily quality music. It's quite sentimental and his gender politics aren't always spot on but it takes me back to being 14. My best friend's mum was a hippy and we used to listen to Meatloaf and the Eagles and I was occasionally happy.

Unlike now, when I radiate unspeakable amounts of happiness to the point where people can't bear to ask me how I am. Well, nearly. But I think that I'm only ever really into one thing at a time and currently it's my job. I do like coming home and seeing Matt but I spend a lot of the evening thinking about my tenants and how to make them happier. I don't want to turn into someone who has no life outside work. But there's so much to get my teeth into and I think I can have a real positive impact on my tenants' lives - I just find it really exciting.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Dinner a deux

Matt and I went out for dinner tonight. It was really lovely - we discovered an Italian restaurant a few hundred metres from our house, where we ate too much. We haven't been out just us really since I broke my leg - to tiring/complicated/painful/busy moving house/whoops ran out of money etc. And do you know what, I think we should do it again.

Work is still busy. Andy, who I currently work with, is ending his secondment early. This has big implications for me. I love working with Andy as it's a lot of fun and I'm learning a lot. Currently I have no idea where they're going to get a replacement from or when or whether I will like them much. Andy is very good at encouraging me to do loads of things and get good experience, so I hope whoever replaces him also does that. I have been promised that he will be replaced - I hope there isn't a big gap.

Have been upsetting some tenants and meeting some less-than-pleasing tenants. Being effective at getting things done and apologising to tenants for the things which should be done but aren't. Discovering that until you have to actually find solutions to anti-social behaviour problems you have very little idea how difficult they are to resolve. I still like it but in a less shiny way.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

IKEA offeres hotdog reassurance

Ashton-under-Lyne, in Tameside, was plunged into disarray today after hundreds of residents and workers got up up to 3 hours early to beat 'chaotic' traffic anticipated with the opening of the new IKEA. However, they were shocked when this additional traffic did not materialise. Reports suggest that this is due to IKEA offering no free sofas for people to fight over.

Once police officer, who preferred to remain anonymous, complained, “I feel cheated. We were promised chaos, but I spent all day watching empty, coned-off traffic lanes and feeling stupid.”

Reports confirm that IKEA Ashton is still offering the world-famous 'IKEA hotdog'. At 50 pence, however, it is more expensive that almost half of IKEA's stock.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Things I like, things I don't like

I've been left alone at work - Andy, my Neighbourhood Management Officer, is off for nearly two weeks. Today, the first day, I turn up to work to discover a tenant has set her kitchen on fire. My suspicion is that Andy did it just to make life more challenging.

I also have a child protection conference to attend on Tuesday. This is the only thing in my job which I haven't enjoyed. Some bits are not very exciting, some even border on dull (copy this information onto this form - why, that sounds delightful) but most of it I like.

I'm finding antisocial behaviour (ASB) work very interesting. Aside from the opportunity to nose into people's lives - it's legitimised gossip - I'm really interested in how we as a housing association deal with ASB and how it should be dealt with from a societal point of view.

We're different from a lot of agencies - social workers, family support, drug and alcohol abuse workers - in that we look at people on a societal level. While a lot of agencies seem to focus on the family and support and understnd their behaviour, we look at how their behaviour affects the wider community. This appears to produce some tensions.

This has made me think again about the Declaration of Children's Rights. This states, among other things, that adults should always do what is best for children. I have a real issue with this. It's not always possible or desirable to protect a child's best interests. For example, one tenant makes other people's lives a nightmare, making them keep their children indoors all the time. This tenant has children and, while evicting them would not be in their best interests, in might be in the best interests of other children and other (non-child) tenants. I think children should be protected and cared for by society, but not necessarily prioritised all the time.

Today a large spider fell from the ceiling onto my leg. This resulted in high-pitched screaming and spidercide. Spider-season is upon us and I am not happy.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

This stuff is lethal...

In my ongoing search for alcohol that tastes nice, may I present Quinns, for which I can't find a good web link? Honestly, this stuff is lethal. It tastes pretty much like fruit juice but is 4% proof. Half way through my first bottle and I'd pretty much forgotten I should be drinking it slowly...

In other news, I've been to the Isle of Skye to visit my mother in law. She runs a bed and breakfast which I can highly recommend. And it's so beautiful up there! Best to go in season in my opinion. We're glad to be back in civilisation, and in our own house again.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

I'm lovin' it...

Yes, I still love my job! I've been doing it for two weeks and it feels like longer. This afternoon I was the only person from my team in, so I was suddenly very busy. Slightly scary trying to make decisions about what's important, but there were other people who helped me. And I loved it! I wish I wasn't so tired all the time, but once I can walk/cook again I'll try to eat more vegetables and exercise more. I promise...

And I'm now able to do short distances with once crutch and occasional very short distances with no crutch. Aren't I clever!

And for the geeks among you - looks like Matt's had his WoW account stolen and he's very sad.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Guess what I can see?

My leg! It's out of plaster! It's not pleasant to look at - hairy, swollen, slightly manky... and it's quite tender - but I'm pleased to have it back. Not so pleased to have to learn to walk on it again, but I was so sick of being in plaster and on crutches. Probably another 3 weeks on crutches and 8 weeks until it's properly better.

Only break your ankle if you (and partner/friends/family) are prepared for 4 months of inconvenience.

Thursday, August 31, 2006


Greenbelt was a mixed experience. Some fits of rage at not being able to steward, a bit of self-pity at how hard it is to get across soil-based, rain-sodden ground and lots of getting wet. However, once I'd come to terms with the fact that this was not going to be my best Greenbelt ever, I mostly enjoyed it. Lots of hanging out with friends, seeing my stewarding team, I saw a spiritual director to discuss my faith-future. I got my plaster damp and now I have a new purple fibreglass one, I sat in the sunshine with my friends listening to good music at Greenbelt - bliss - and I realised what fantastic friends I have! Putting my tent up and down, taking me to hospital and just looking after me and helping me and walking me to my tent in the middle of the night in a downpour - you know who you are.

And now I've started my new job. Very tired! Two days of induction - meeting people and finding stuff out. It's almost overwhelming. I like the people and I think I'll like the job. Seems like a good company to work for. And while, on the one had, it's a bit rubbish not to be able to do my job straight away, being on crutches makes me memorable and is a good conversation-starter. And this seems to be a place where a football injury is quite respectable!

But I tell you what - full-time work seems quite unreasonable!

Saturday, August 19, 2006


Just to let you know that we don't have internet access at the moment so I probably won't be posting (or checking emails) until after the Bank Holiday, when I come home from Greenbelt.

Not that I have much to write about anyway. I sit on my sofa and try to while away the time doing something... Having a broken ankle is not hte most fascinating way to spend a couple of months!!!

I'm looking forward to Greenbelt. Slightly nervous about camping while on crutches but I think my friends will look after me!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Ceasefire Campaign

This is taken from the Ceasefire Campaign website. I've signed it and I hope you will too. However, I'm aware that it's easy for the situation in Lebanon to become the latest media frenzy, forgetting Afghanistan and Iraq. The world feels like a messy place at the moment.

Right now a tragedy is unfolding in the Middle East. Thousands of innocent civilians have been killed or wounded in the bombings in Lebanon, Palestine and Israel and the death toll is rising every day. If the US, Syria or Iran get involved, there is a chance of a catastrophic larger war. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has called for an immediate ceasefire and the deployment of international troops to the Israel-Lebanon border, and been strongly supported by almost every world leader. This is the best proposal yet to stop the violence, but the US, the UK, and Israel have refused to accept it. I have just signed a petition calling on US President Bush, UK Prime Minister Blair, and Israeli Prime Minister Olmert to support Kofi Annan's proposal. If millions of people join this call, and we advertise our views in newspapers in the US, UK, and Israel, we can help pressure these leaders to stop the fighting. Please go to Ceasefire Campaign and sign up now!

Saturday, August 05, 2006


It now looks like we're really moving house. The kitchen is packed into boxes and our boiler and fridge look really white now that all the fridge magnets are packed. Similarly, the lounge is full of boxes and the shelves are empty. The study is half-packed and the nasty wardrobes in the bedroom ar destroyed. Oh, and the bedroom is full of boxes as well. It's quite exciting thought the broken ankle is quite inconvenient. We're moving to rent a house in Ashton, but hoping to save money to buy a house in Glossop. And last night I dreamt about living in Glossop. So it feels like we're on the way.

Yesterday Matt and I rang up all the people you ring to tell you're moving (phone, electricity, water etc), which were all fine. Until we got to broadband. We're with Orange, formerly Wanadoo. I realise I am not aware of the complexities of setting up broadband, but is it reasonable to be made to wait 15 working days (yes, ladies and gentlemen, that's 3 weeks) to have broadband in your new house? I don't think so. Stuck at home, as I currently am, I do not intend to be cut off from email and other forms of online entertainment for 3 weeks. Any suggestions of a good ISP? We don't download much but we do use the internet a lot.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Over the moon!

I'm going to Greenbelt!!!

I haven't quite bought my ticket* but Matt and I have decided we can afford it, and Liz helped me to arrange some camping space in Disabled Groups camping, which is close to the festival village rather than a mile away (or something like that. It's a long way anyway) and my ankle is much better than it was, which gives me some hope that it will be ok enough by Greenbelt. And a kind friend is going to take my tent down early and put it up somewhere good.

I wish it were possible to tell you all how happy I am to be going. Greenbelt is my favourite thing all year and the place I feel most like me. Most people I know go and I see them all as I wander across the site. People have interesting discussions about things and there's tents and I get to sit in the sun and hang out with my friends. This year I won't get to indulge my passion for queue management but it will be interesting to see what it's like as a punter. In celebration, here is my favourite moon-related Weebl and Bob cartoon.

*Due to finance juggling, I am going to put it on my credit card and pay for it with my full-time-job-wages but I want to get it after the credit card statement for last month arrives. Or something.

Monday, July 31, 2006

I want one...

...of these.

I'm still dithering about Greenbelt. Maybe I could go. Just maybe...

Thursday, July 27, 2006


A bit of an update:

1. I got the job! And not only that - I got the permanent job rather than one of the three temporary ones. So obviously they liked me! I'm very excited. I'm hoping to start after the Bank Holiday.

2. I went and had the backslab plaster taken off and my ankle re-x-rayed. Still broken. It's now in a full plaster which you can write on if you like and are in Manchester. No weight-bearing for four weeks, after which I go back and am x-rayed again and hopefully released from plaster.

3. This means no Greenbelt. My mum pointed out that it's likely to get kicked or trodden on. I wouldn't like this. Better safe than sorry, eh?

4. Today is my wedding anniversary. Matt and I have been married for 4 years. We're having slightly subdued celebrations due to my immobility...

Sunday, July 23, 2006

More Sore Paw

My foot is getting more sore but I'm geting more used to it being in plaster, so it's swings and roundabouts. I'm juggling paracetamol and ibuprofen - I think geting the swelling down on my ankle would help me a lot.

The interview went well, I think. I seemed to get on well with the interviewers, I answered all their questions, I told them about all my skills, and I don't think I could have done much better without a plaster cast. I should find out towards the middle to end of the week so I'll let you know when I do. I hope i get it - I really liked the people and the place.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

All in the timing

I went to play football last night, which I was very excited about. Unfortunately, while demonstrating my dribbling skills, I fell over the ball and hurt my ankle. After I went a bit pale and thought I was going to faint/be sick, an ambulance was called (no, not Matt, sadly, thought someone phoned him and he did come too). Three hours in casualty and a couple of x-rays later, it turned out that my career as a professional footballer would have to be put on hold - my ankle was broken. I emerged with cast and crutches and a couple of Matt's workmates gave me a lift to the car in their ambulance - yes, special treatment!

The good thing is that it doesn't hurt too much. The bad thing is that I have my interview on Friday, we're moving house in 3 weeks and I'm supposed to be going to Greenbelt to steward in about 5 weeks. This may not be possible. It's back to the hospital for a fracture clinic on Wednesday, where they'll take off the backslab and either put a fibreglass plaster on or stick it in a big bandage. Either way, I think I'll be immobile for a while..

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Finding, doing, sorting

I found my mp3 player - it had slipped inside a pocket of my bag whch I don't ever use. And I decided I don't even want to graduate anyway. I saw some people watching graduation on a screen in the cafeteria and - I'd forgotten how boring it is. Maybe I'll just pick up my certificate and we can all meet in the pub for a drink to celebrate. So all the bad things from last week are not so bad.

Today I am doing many good things. I've tidied the lounge and kitchen and cleaned the bathroom. I'm packing up tetrapaks we've saved to post off to be recycled. I'm gearing up for moving house as well by making lists and returning things we've borrowed. If you lend me somehing, I promise you will always get it back. But possibly not until we move house...

Thursday, July 06, 2006

More good things!

  1. I have a job interview! It's for New Charter Housing Trust, to be a Neighbourhood Management Assistant. I'm very excited - apart from the fact that I would really like a job, the company looks really good and the job involves helping people - solving problems, dealing with complaints, finding ways to make people happy, which I find very satisfying.
  2. As an added bonus, the job is in Ashton-under-Lyne, where we are hopefully moving to at the end of the month. This will be very convenient (walking to work? What a novel idea!) if I get the job. As long as everything works out, we're going to rent a friend's house. The house is beautiful and as Ashton is on the edge of Greater Manchester, it's near fields and trees, which will fill my heart with joy.
  3. I saw my uni friends at the weekend and had an amazing time. It was great to catch up and to spend some time with Gillian's baby, Joel. He's 14 months old and is a really lovely, gorgeous baby. He's just so cute! I had so much fun with my friends.

There are some bad things too: someone has stolen my mp3 player from my bag, so I can't listen to my music on the bus, and apparently I don't get to graduate for having a postgraduate certificate. Now, I think I've worked hard enough over the past year to deserve to get clapped by lots of people while wearing flappy black robes (and Matt couldn't get off work to ocme to my undergrad graduation, so I'd like him to come to this one) so I'm going to try to be allowed. However, some friends have said that if I can't, they'll come to Student Services when I go to collect my certificate and will clap. And then we can all go to the pub to celebrate. Perhaps I'll even throw a hat in the air.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

I love you. I really do. I love you allllllll...

Sometimes my life feels a bit rubbish. But I've just been to Sanctus and I feel happy. There's something about sitting outside a pub cheering a man on a hydraulic platform (what were you doing, man? Cleaning windows? Stealing? Street theatre? We don't know) with friends which just makes life better. You people... you make me laugh, you make me feel special, you laugh at my jokes and you let me tell pointless and meandering stories badly.

Honestly, I'm gushing. I'm not saying anything I want to say and I'm not even saying things I don't want to say with any kind of finesse or style. But I just feel pleased to have friends I like and who seem to like me too. I want to run up to them and throw my arms around them and thank them for being my friends, for being amazing, for... I don't know what. However, I think that might frighten them.

So I think it's better that I just go to bed now. Goodnight.

Monday, June 26, 2006

four things I'd like to tell you

A good few days...

1. Cheesy dancing at Aqua. It's a bit of a dive but friendly. Added excitement when the night finished very suddenly at 1.30 due to a drugs raid.

2. A barbecue. The weather mostly held and lots of people came. I feel very special having so many people coming to celebrate my birthday.

3. Yesterday, my actual birthday, was a bit lame. I've developed an unpleasant cough/cold/sore throat/headache, so I was a bit too tired. I'm liking the feel of 27 so far though.

4. Results! I got 64% for the module I've done this term and 72% for the year-long module. So that makes my average something like 65%. Hopefully I should get a merit for the year and also about £500 back in tuition fees. And a sense of achievement - I think I've made the right decision in not doing any more studying, but now I also feel like a success.

Hurrah for me. cough cough.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


I am tired because I got up at 6.15 this morning to go to Chester for a meeting. As it took 3 hours travel each way for one meeting I'm not sure how efficient it was. While I support the idea of public transport (and not just because I can't drive...) it doesn't feel very feasible for work. Tomorrow I'm going to Huddersfield and Leeds and will be out of the house for 12 hours - I have a couple of hours empty time in the middle) and on Friday I have to go to a conference in Ormskirk, for which I will be getting up at about 6.00 and be out of the house for 9 hours or so.

However, nothing can dampen my enthusiasm! This weekend it is my birthday and I will be 27! I'm very excited about this as I like odd numbers. 26 has not had much to recommend it so I'm happy to move on. To celebrate I am going out dancing on Friday night - we're meeting at the Knott Bar at 8 and then going somewhere to dance to cheesy music. Then on Saturday we are having a barbecue and I intend to have a big cake as well, to celebrate my birthday and finishing studying. Matt is going to make it for me. One year he made me a surprise birthday cake and I was very happy. This one is unsurprising but I hope will be equally pleasing.

If you would like to come post your email address and I'll send directions.

Any ideas for where we can find 80s cheese in Manchester?

Friday, June 16, 2006

Is it so much to ask that someone gives me a job?

I have been turned down for another job this week and it's getting a bit depressing - apart from anything else, there are other things I'd like to do on a Friday evening than write supporting statements for application forms.

I know that I am very talented and, if I was given a good job I could do it very well and be happy. After all, I'm a master of strategy, I have excellent communication skills, I'm enthusiastic and I'm funny. So why wouldn't anyone want me?

  1. If your office was full of spiders you might get a bit tired of me being scared of them.
  2. You might not be intereted in what I think about gender, how the economy would be better if everyone worked less and gardened more, or why people profiting from investing in property is unhelpful.
  3. You might like having a big car and driving it around a lot.
  4. You might not want to find me talking every time you come in the office (but honestly, it's a coincidence...)
  5. You might just be really stupid.

Ok, I'm done. Back to the applications.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Must lose weight

Am spurred to lose weight and develop a very flat stomach. Have just been asked by a colleague if I'm pregnant.

No, just fat.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Tired and emotional

but not in the Greenbelt sense...

I am very tired - it's been a difficult week for various reasons (yes, I choose to take holiday from work to concide with life being rubbish) and I haven't slept very well due to the heat. So I am very tired and not looking forward to getting back to work on Tuesday.

I'm feeling a little disillusioned about finding a new job at the moment - I've applied for a few admin/events management jobs and have either not heard anything or been turned down (again this morning). A lot of jobs I'm interested in have asked for a full UK driving license, which is problematic beacuse I can't afford to learn until I get a full-time job, but can't get a full-time job I want without a driving license. Also, I don't really want to be a one-car family, never mind two cars.

I went to a careers fair on Wednesday which was helpful. I'm considering a career in social housing and spoke to a few different organisations. I think I'd like to work for a housing association, starting in a customer-facing role then working towards a career in regeneration. Lack of housing experience is not an insurmountable problem but my research suggests that I will, in the not-too-distant future, need to return to study to get professional qualifications. I bet you can imagine my joy at the thought of that!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

I believe...

I have been having some 'issues' with faith over the past couple of years. As in I've stopped believing God exists.

I did this quiz and came out as a humanist. A few days later I got a free copy of New Humanist magazine through the post. So I thought maybe it was a sign that I should be a humanist. Then I realised that if I was one I wouldn't believe in signs. Back to where I started.

I was looking forward to being a humanist as well.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Must learn from my mistakes

Went away with Sanctus1 this weekend. It was a brilliant weekend - some interesting discussions around parables and lots of spending time with my friends, plus Lucy and I risking our lives trying to get to the sea, only to find it was brown and horrible and full of jellyfish. Myn, Rob abd Richard came up with a fantastic treasure hunt in which teams had to take photos of a variety of things. Very funny. We didn't win but I bet we had the most fun.

Last year I drank too much and had to be carried to bed pretty much unconcious. Which made me appreciate me friends. This year I planned not to do that but unfortunately surpassed myself, not only having to be carried to bed but also being violently sick all over the bathroom door and falling asleep with my head in the toilet bowl. I feel very privileged to have friends who take care of me after I do that, clean up vile-smelling sick, put up with me telling them how much I love them or, alternatively, that they're shit (sorry Stephen. I really didn't mean it), and not seeming to mind too much or judging me for it - even finding it funny, I think. Lev, Lucy, Eyan, Tony, Janet, thank you. I'm glad I have friends I feel safe with and trust to look after me.

Here's what I've learnt. Once I get to a certain point, my good intentions about not getting drunk go out of the window and I proceed to drink as much as I can until I fall off the sofa. So next year I have to decide how much I'm going to drink and stick to it, get my friends to help me, drink slowly and not just alcohol, and above all, not get to the point where I drink recklessly. Yesterday I had a monster hangover and today I still feel wretched. I think my liver is angry with me.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

What's that? Ooh, it looks like the end!

Yes, the end is in sight. In two weeks' time I shall be on holiday, (no, not going anywhere, just at home) lying in bed and enjooying being free. I have a first draft of the monster essay. Last night I dreamt I got 65% for it. I think this was not prophetic as it is quite embarrassingly bad. And everyone says "but I'm sure it's not as bad as you think." Honestly, I'm not one of those people. It really is bad. It's about imperialism and doesn't discuss what imperialism is. It's not 6200 words so I need to get rid of approximately 2700 of them. That's my job for next week.

This week I'm finishing my dissertation proposal. This is about the right word length but needs some critical thinking put into it. Could be tricky.

And this could really be the end, folks. When writing my essay last week I realised I wasn't enjoying it and hadn't enjoyed anything I'd done all year. So why, if I don't enjoy doing research and analysis, do an MA just to get a research and analysis job? All the jobs I've ever done, I've enjoyed organising things. So now I'm looking into whether I can get a postgraduate certificate for the work I've done so far and then launch myself into the world of careers. I'm thinking along the lines of events management or operations - something practical.

And then I can have my life back, see my friends, get more involved in the Green Party and Friends of the Earth, more involved with Sanctus and see Matt occasionally. I think I can contribute more by doing a supporting role in an organisation which is doing the sort of things I'm interested in than making myself unhappy trying to come up with a New Plan For Humanity which will have serious theoretical flaws badly hidden in it.

Friday, May 12, 2006


I promise, after June 5th, to write more cheerful posts, and more often.

I am scared that I'm spending all this time on an essay which is going to be no good.

I'm scared that I won't be able to put a good argument together.

I'm scared that my lecturer will think I'm stupid.

I'm scared of failing my MA.

I don't now how bad failing would be. I wouldn't be able to do a lot of jobs which I might like to do.

I probably wouldn't be able to be in charge of the world.

But I would get my life back.

After I stopped working for SPEAK it took probably a year to really feel that my life was my own again. I loved having my life back.

There's a really stupid fly which can't find its way out of the window. I both pity and hate it for being so stupid and for annoying me.

Saturday, May 06, 2006


I have to write an essay. But instead:

Find out about The Cure For Information Overload

I beat the Tories in the local elections
Withington. Electorate: 9,959
Delores Elizabeth Long The Labour Party Candidate 613
Andrew Christopher Perfect The Conservative Party Candidate 207
Sarah Stuart Green Party 340
Simon David Wheale Liberal Democrat 1064

Rate your life:

My life has been rated:
Click to find out your rating!
See what your rating is!
Created by Bart King

Monday, May 01, 2006

Bank Holiday achievements

This Bank Holiday weekend I have done many things.

Friday I did some studying, went for a careers interview and watched some ER.

On Saturday I failed to do any studying but I went to see my sister, who has been in hospital for a while. We sat outside on the grass in the sun and I thought what perfect beer-garden weather it was. So I arranged to go to the pub with Eyan on Sunday, who always tells me, when I ask, why he calls himself Fat Roland. And then I always forget. When I got home I watched some ER.

On Sunday, Matt came home at 3am having hurt his back at work. I spent most of the day studying, as well as watching an episode of ER. I decided to work really hard to try to get my dissertation proposal written. After working on that for hours and hours, I went to the pub with Eyan and we had a lot of fun, vodka and coke. I was pleased to get home without being murdered - for some reason being murdered after drinking vodka and coke is so much less respectable than being murdered after drinking beer. I think it's because vodka and coke is associated with girls and obviously girls who drink too much deserve to be murdered*. Drinking vodka and coke is obviously irresponsible.

Drinking vodka and coke is irresponsible when you have to get up and write an essay the next day. But it was worth it because I love seeing Eyan. So today I finished my dissertation proposal. I'm slightly embarrassed by it at the moment, as it's pretty crap, but at least it's something I can hand in if I don't get a chance to redraft it. It's back to the imperialism essay.

But not tonight. Tonight, I'm going to watch more ER, and eat icecream.

I hope you all had as much fun as me.

*Just to clarify, that was sarcasm.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Decisions, decisions (pretty shoes)

I need to buy a pair of trainers. I have some Doc Martens which hurt my feet. I'm not sure if they're the wrong size or a bit weird but they really hurt my feet.

I've been shopping twice to try to buy some and still not succeeded. I left yesterdy because the alternative was to lie on the floor of the shop and cry.

Finally I realise why I can't buy any trainers. I haven't made a decision about everyday footwear for 10 years. This is because my standard procedure has been to find a shop that sells Dr Martens, buy a pair of black size 8 8-hole boots and put them on. I then wear them til the sole wears out and repeat the procedure.

Black Dr Marten boots are non-statement footwear. They don't look like anything. Trainers look like something. You have to choose a colour and a style. If you get that far, they won't have it in your size.

Looks like I'm consigned to more sore feet. If I were rich I would paysomeone to do my shopping for me.

Friday, April 21, 2006

But what's the point?

Here's my question: what's the point of being alive? It sounds morbid, I know, but it's one that a lot of people ask themselves. When I'm old, how can I look back at my life and feel I made good use of it? What should I do now to feel happy and satisfied, now and later? My MA isn't going well so it looks unlikely that I'm going to be a revolutionary academic and solve all of the world's problems. I have to find something else to do. What can I do that will match up to that sort of goal? And what makes you feel happy with your life?

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Living the dream...

SPEAK have made the world's biggest dress and are taking it on a mini-tour. As I've done lots of logistical-type stuff at Soundcheck, the annual gathering of the SPEAK network, they've asked me if I'd like to do that for this Big Dress mini tour. Well, I'd love to. But...
  1. It's in Cambridge. I live in Manchester.
  2. I have a part-time job.
  3. I'm doing an MA and have two essays to do.

It's been mooted as full time for a couple of months but I could possibly do it part time. I'm very tempted - I love the big dress and would love to take it on tour. I love organising events and I love SPEAK and... how much fun would it be?

I have to admit, I am tempted to (a) chuck in my job and do this for a couple of months and then get something else or (b) chuck in my MA and do this for a couple of months. I am quite bored of my job and the MA is difficult and has been severely hampered by a bit of a family crisis which has turned my brain into mush. So this is very appealing. And they'll even pay me, which would be revolutionary. I'm not sure Matt would say if I took off to Cambridge to live in a teepee for 8 weeks or so. But... it would be fun...

Thursday, March 30, 2006

From parsnips to imperialism

Yes, it's essay time again. This time I'm considering whether we should be studying imperialism rather than globalisation. This is a fair question because we do talk about gloablisation quite a lot and people are starting to talk about imperialism again.

At the moment, my answer is something like this: Neoliberal globalisaiton is about western states, notably the US, trying to make the rest of the world be the way they want them to be. This is imperialistic. Globalisation is a fairly neutral term and also is used in a way that implies that it is natural and just happens. Imperialism makes clear the motives of the global powers to make the world the way they want it to be. However, globalisation isn't all bad - the effects of it open the world up. It also allows us to consider the world as a whole. So imperialistic globalisation is bad but globalisation shouldn't be written off altogether.

Or something

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

I love them really

what I think about parsnipsImage by Dave Walker.

I actually really love parsnips. But of all the cartoons offered, I liked this on the best.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Light a candle...

The flat Matt and I lived in when we first married had no central (or other) heating and sash windows that weren't just single glazed but also let in draughts. It was pretty chilly - we could see our breath in the air - and we resorted to lighting loads of candles to take the edge off the chill.

As the gas people informed me yesterday (by the time I got home their office had shut and the contact number they gave me referrred me to another phone number which was also not being answered) that they were turning my gas off all day today and that if no-one was in today it would be off all weekend, we have no central heating. So I've gone back to candles - shut in the study with13 tea-lights. It's actually quite warm - in comparison to the rest of the house.

We try not to have the heating on too much, due to the price of gas and the whole global warming thing. However, it is cold. At least, when the gas runs out, we'll have an alternative - though I imagine candle prices will start going up... And what is candle wax made of?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Students' Union in pointless partisan debate shocker!

I had a lovely lunch with Myn at the Cornerhouse today. Then I decided to go to the Students' Union meeting, where there were some votes I wanted to take part in - about the Students' Union making ethical decisions (stuff like the Nestle boycott, that sort of thing) and something about the World Bank. I did deliberate about this, as I'm pretty busy and any time spent in SU meetings is time I can't spend watching ER. However, principles are principles and if you don't vote, you acn't complain when they do what you don't want them to.

However, proceedings descended into farce. There was a motion put forward which said that:
  1. The US is bad
  2. The US supports Israel
  3. Some Latin American countries are doing pretty cool lefty things right next door to the US
  4. We should twin with universities in Palestine and Venezuela.

Amendements were put forward by someone from the Jewish Society saying that we should twin with the Hebrew University in Jerusalem which apparently has Palestinian and Israeli students and removing a line which says that Israel is a client state of the US.

This required about 4 recounts. Yes, 4. Plus, the person chairing (I think this was their first time) was unsure on the procedures and kept getting the amendments mixed up. It wasn't good. Absolute chaos and it had descended into partisan politics - Socialist workers/Respect/Islamic soc (I think) against Jewish soc.

Because the first amendment was accepted, apparently this means that the Jewish Soc guy owns the whole amendment! So he accepts the second resolution and then proceeds to argue that he wants to take out the line that said that Israel is the single biggest recipient of foreign aid. He said it wasn't. Socialist guy said it was if you count military aid. In the end, the whole thing was really stupid - we were being asked to vote on something factual when we didn't know if this was true or not. I have no idea if it passed or not.

Then we voted on whether we wanted to go straight to voting on the whole motion. Everyone did - half the recounts had been because people kept leaving during the votes before, with the chair not really having any control over the proceedings.

Then, finally we voted on the motion. Because the amendments had changed the whole spirit of the motion, pretty much everyone who had set out to support it voted agianst it and everyone who had set out to oppose it voted for it. The whole thing was ridiculous. And because it failed, we wasted a whole load of time to achieve nothing.


Friday, March 10, 2006

Resisting globalisation

On Thursday the topic for our seminar is 'Social justice, resistance and global restructuring'. I am giving a seminar presentation. I saw the words 'social justice' and felt this was the area I was most likely to manage something in. However, with one thing and another, I've only just started thinking about it. I have to come up with some sort of reasopable intellectual question to discuss. Hmmm. Oh well, the worst that can happen is that I make a fool of myself, get slated by the lecturer and get a bad mark. It could be worse...

Monday, March 06, 2006

Hello March!

I managed to miss pancake day and St David's day. Apparently we're a fifth of the way through March already. One day I'm going to wake up and discover I'm dead and be really confused. "Where did my life go? Wasn't I 26 only a few days ago?" I'll be asking. Here are a few places the time went.

1. Soundcheck. When working 18-hour days stewarding, you would think life would feel longer. But it all blurs into one long episode of walking between building and worrying that you've forgotten soemthing crucial. I lost 3lbs doing it, so there's something.

2. Sleeping

3. Trying to fit 3 days of studying into a day and a half while knackered

4. Going to Belfast for a BEAUTIFUL wedding. Creative, individual, romantic, moving, and there was snow (to make up for being asked not to throw confetti, I imagine). I hoped to be snowed into Belfast Castle, but it didn't happen.

5. Being scared on planes. I don't fly too much as I've heard it has a deleterious effect on the environment. However, there's this stretch of water between us and Northern Ireland and the ferry is expensive and takes forever. I had forgotten how much I hate take-off. It feels so precarious. And then you're in the sky. It just seems wrong to me to be above the clouds. I can feel this huge big drop underneath me. And all that's keeping us up is a couple of wings that looked pretty wobbly to me. There's believing in physics and then there's taking your life into your hands. I'd prefer to believe we're kept up there by magic. On the way home I was too tired and I cried (quietly and to myself, you'll be impressed to hear) all the way through take-off. While landing feels like it should be more dangerous, by that time I've got used to being airbourne and started to trust that the wings won't fall off. On the way out, we sat over the wings for extra legroom and were very excited to get special training (reading a card) on what to do in case of a crash - take the door off and throw it out of the hole left by door removal. If anyone would like training, I can do a re-enactment of what we red, so you're prepared for any emergency exits you might need to make.

The good thing about time going is that soon we'll put the clocks forward and it will be light nearly 24 hours a day!!!!!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Strop over

I've stopped stropping and sulking about my essay. Really, life's too short. Particularly when you're as busy as I am.

Really, I should be too busy to blog. But why work when you can do stuff on the internet?

I had a lovely time at Ruthie's hen weekend. Took a bit of sleeping when I got home (roughly 12 hours) to recover. Now I'm trying to prepare for Soundcheck, apply for a job as a tutor in halls, and read for Thursday's seminar. I also need to think about two seminar presentations, an essay and my dissertation proposal. I'm off to Soundcheck at 6.00 on Thursday and get back on Monday at midnight. Tuesday I will be sleeping, Wednesday and Thursdya preparing for the next seminar and then Friday we're off to Belfast for Stephen and Ruthie's wedding, which we're very excited about. It's all go.

Friday, February 17, 2006

A big Monty Python foot on my head

On Wednesday I felt like this had stamped on me. I got my mark for the module I did last term.

You remember how hard I worked? If not, see here and here and here and, finally, here. I worked VERY HARD on my essay. I rewrote it about 9 times. I gave 7 solid weeks of my life to that essay. I worked on it on Christmas Eve.

Let me reproduce for you the comments that were written on the marksheet:
"This was in many ways a competent* essay, but the arguments were left underdeveeloped and some of the contentions were rather dubious**. The first half of the essay consisted entirely of a reprising of the literature***, and the critical analysis failed really to get off the ground**** [here we go onto a second sheet which wasn't photocopied very well]... so detailed critical examination ... [no idea what this word is] was offered, and the understanding of it appeared frequently somewhat superficial.*****"

I got 50% for my essay. That's 'as bad as possible while still scraping through to MA standard'. I was devastated. I want to do a PhD. I need to get funding for that. To get funding you need to be 'stellar'. 53% for a module does not equate to stellar, I'm guessing. So I cried for most of the rest of Wednesday. Thank you to my Sanctus friends who were very kind to me, and also to Em - we spent an hour on the phone reassuring each other that we are good at what we do.

However, yesterday things began to improve. I went to see my current tutor******, who gave me advice on reading critically and assured me that my academic career was not over yet. And then when I went to my seminar it transpired that only one person in the class had got over 60%. One person, who managed last year to get something like 70% for an essay she wrote when she had just had a baby (seriously - she had the baby in November and got an extension on the essay) got less than 60% for this one.

So I'm treating this as a learning experience, which of course it is. I'm seeing where I can improve. I've stopped crying quite so much...

*when 'competent' is the best thing which can be said about your work, you know it's time to shoot yourself.
**'Dubious'???? I liked my contentions. And I think if you are going to say someone's contentions are dubious, you should at least say which ones and why.
***This is probably true
****And this. My secret fear all the way through last term was that I couldn't do critical analysis. Having your secret fears confirmed is very unpleasant.
*****'Superficial'? That's mean.
******If you see this man, buy him a drink.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Global finance, anyone?

Today I am reading about Global Finance. It's pretty dull. However, I have Valentine's Day cheesy music on the radio to keep me company. I do love it. I have quite a lot of work to do because I have some very busy weekends up ahead: Ruthie's hen weekend (I can't blog about it because it's a surprise for her) then Soundcheck then Stephen and Ruthie's wedding. I'm looking forward to them all but have to work hard to get my reading done round all of them.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Busy busy busy

Have been very busy recently. Last Saturday Matt, Matt's sister Hil and I went up to the Isle of Skye, where his mum and her partner have just moved. As I can't drive, I slept for most of the 8.5 hours it took to get there. Still, pretty tiring. After experiencing the rain, mist and cold of Skye, we came back on Wednesday. More sleeping for me.

On Thursday Matt and I did the second part of scoping out areas we might like to live: Besses o'th Barn (in Whitefield - you'd want to live somwehere with a name like that too, wouldn't you?) and Bury. Matt was still tired from driving rather than sleeping so kept saying "are we finished now?" Eventually we had. So we drove to Lytham to see Little Matt and dropped in on Dave and Hannah too.

On Friday I had a meeting with Cris to sort out the Sanctus session we're leading on Wednesday, then got on a coach down to London (sleeping most of the way...). Soundcheck, SPEAK's 'gathering of the network' is in about 4 weeks and I'm organising the stewarding. So this was my opportunity to see the venue. I stayed with Duncan, who I was at uni with in my first year, and we had load of fun. We stayed up til 2.30am on Saturday playing board games. I also saw someone from Mcfly but failed to recognice him - he was talking to Duncan's flatmate Sam, who is a features writer for Sugar. Then back on a bus to sleep over large parts of the journey home again. After a small nap when I got home I did a bit of work (only because I had to do it for today...) and then back to bed...

You would think after all that sleeping I would be wide awake but actually I'm pretty knackered. Not good when lectures start again today. The next month will be busy, with a hen weekend, Soundcheck and a wedding to fit in, but after that I'll have some time to get some studying done...

Off to uni!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

And for the next...28 months...

So I handed in my essay. I felt bored. Term starts again in early February. What shall I do? I need a project. How about starting thinking about my dissertation? It's part of one of next semester's modules anyway. As I'm part time, it's not due in until May 2008. Talk about starting early.

I'm thinking about economic growth. It seems to be assumed that growth is not just good but essential. We Must Buy More. Is this true? What are the alternatives? This is what I hope to find out...

Thursday, January 12, 2006


I am quite bored. Since finishing my essay, I have just not had anything to do. When I have letures, I'm so busy reading that I don't have time to do much else. I've tidied the cupboard under the stairs, fixed my bike and taken down Christmas decorations. I've also done quite a lot of cooking and washing up. But not much that's fun.

There are things I need to do - some stuff to do with, my church, some stuff to do with stewards for Soundcheck, and I should keep applying for a few jobs - my contract runs out at the end of January and if they don't renew it, or they try to keep me on casually, I will need a new job.

I also look at houses on the internet. But I'm even getting bored of that now...

January is a rubbish month - it's as cold and dark as December but without the christmassy lights. February is like January but slighly wetter and slightly lighter. Looking forward to March...

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Et voila!

All done... my essay is finished... I took out 1000 words yesterday to get it down to the word limit. It's a bit sad taking out all those words I'd worked so hard to find. And someof them were very good words. Some of them were interesting points which I had to take out because they didn't add anything relevant to the specific argument I was making. I think it's a good essay but I'll have to wait until I get the mark back to find out.

So now my time is my own... I can do what I want - until work on Monday...