Posts Tagged ‘life’

What Mariah taught me

Ooo, ohhh, yehhh. Ah ah heeey hey. Shoodah doo doo doo, yeyyyy yeh.

I couldn’t get enough of it! When she broke into the “shoodahdoo oh” intro, I was on fire. The finger clicking would start, my eyes would close slightly, I’d get my warbly voice on and find a wall to stand close to or lean on, a la the video for We Belong Together.

I loved Mariah. I was convinced I had a vocal range extremely similar to hers. Play me the first few notes of any Mariah song, I can probably tell you which song it is and sing quite a lot of it for you.

I had a Mariah moment on the way to work yesterday. I’m not ashamed to admit it. I was listening to all of her greatest hits. And the lines were all there in my head.

“Many nights, we’ve prayed…. I’m thinking of you, in my sleepless solitude tonight…. There’s a hero, if you look inside your heart…. Sorry, I never told you, all I wanted to say…”

And do you know what I thought? I thought Damn you Mariah. I needed that brain space last year in my exams. No wonder I couldn’t remember everything. 80% of my brain was filled with your song lyrics.

But she has taught me a lot of good life lessons. She’s taught me about how every situation can be made beautiful with a good song and a video full of close ups. Yes, you might be pining for a boy you go to school with or you may have fallen out with your best friend but this is perfect material for songs and music videos.

I was quite dramatic when I was younger. I wrote songs (three or four) about dramatic things that had happened to me and imagined myself being filmed for music videos. Given that I had a vocal range similar to Mariah’s, it was likely that I would be discovered soon and I wanted to be ready.

Her songs taught me a lot about how to handle real life situations actually. From Always Be My Baby, I learned that if you love someone enough, that fact alone will win the day, despite them dumping you and running off. From the video, I learned that it is possible to get to and lounge about on a tyre swing in the middle of a lake whilst remaining dry.

From Heartbreaker, I learned that even if someone keeps breaking your heart and you keep going back to them, it’s ok as long as you write a song about it and then go to the cinema with a pink crochet bikini top on and beat up a girl with a dog in a bag.

From Fantasy, I learned that if you’re going to have a secret crush on someone who ‘walks by every night’ (is he some sort of male prostitute?), at least go to the fairground and sing about it whilst skating. I did not roller skate around the fairground singing about my crush. I think that’s probably why I didn’t win him.

My All perfectly articulated (planted?) all the feelings I thought I had about this one boy in drama group who I was obsessed with. I’d listen to it in the evenings and stare out of my bedroom window all wistfully, thinking of earlier-mentioned boy and convincing myself that he could somehow tell I was thinking about him.

You see? Mariah helped me with loads of life situations.

As soon as I hear the beginning of any of her songs, I’m back. I’m 14 years old, I’m in my lilac bedroom with the wall mirrors, I’m doing a little bit of choreography, I’m warbling, I’m staring pensively into space.

And I’m genuinely wondering why I haven’t been discovered yet.
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(Me on the left as a 16 year old, to help you picture the scene)

River life

Since I started working at Ham House, my life revolves around the river more than it ever has, despite living next to it for years. The tides, the plants, the water sports, all these things are changing with the warm weather and there is always something different and interesting to see. Here are a few things which might greet me on my walk to work.

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High tide! That there, where those swans are swimming, that’s the path where I usually walk. My options are two. Firstly, I can walk quite a long way back until I come to a path that will take me up to the road and around to meet up with the path further on where it is dry. OR I can simply roll up my trousers to my knees and wade through. I always choose this option, which means that most of my shoes are soaked and lined up to dry out in the hallway. (Check out the cows in the second photo, all gathered behind the wall to watch the silly humans squealing and trying to keep their trousers dry.)

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In the distance to the right, there is a polo match going on. I watched it yesterday after work for about ten minutes. I’m not going to pretend I knew what was going on. Or that I was even close enough to see it, even if I did know how polo works.

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I don’t know if you can see through the small gap in the foliage, there is a longboat of sorts, with about ten people rowing. It looked really old school, like they were setting off for a Viking battle.

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A lone boat just bobbing about on the water. I wanted to jump in it and row the rest of the way home. I have decided that my life would be nicer if I rowed to work. I just need a boat. Anyone got one they can give me?

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Talking of boats, a few years ago I decided that I didn’t have enough upper body strength so I would join a rowing club. I looked into joining this one until I realised that you probably need to be part of this crowd to afford the fees.

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The Star and Garter up on the hill. This place is for disabled servicemen and women and must be a lovely way to spend your days after the horrors of war.

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A half naked man showing off!

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A boat which comes around every summer and puts on puppet shows for kids.

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Anyone who’s been on even one date has to come down to the river on a sunny day. Women sitting on men’s knees on benches, tanned couples sitting under trees and talking in low voices to each other, teenagers listening to music aloud on their phones and looking nervously around. They’re all here on the river on a sunny day.

What to do when you don’t know what to do

Something pretty sad happened about ten days ago. A man I cared about was killed by the state of Texas.

The following week, I received two letters from him. That was wierd. I was in a pretty wierd place about the whole thing anyway. It felt sort of like it had happened but more like it was a story I was telling people about an imaginary world. An imaginary world where we kill each other to teach others that they shouldn’t kill each other. We strap them down and give them an injection and watch for 22 long minutes while they gurgle and choke and die.

This world sounds too crazy to be true. So maybe it’s not true, I told myself. Maybe this whole episode is happening in my mind.

And so, as time went by, I went from being pretty gutted half of the time and disbelieving the other half, to now total disbelief. There are no more letters arriving in the mail from him.

He is fading from my mind. I don’t know how to make myself understand that it has happened. It feels that maybe the whole thing never existed, maybe he never existed?

Walking into the high security unit last month in Texas and talking on a telephone to a man behind a glass screen seems like it happened a million years ago. In my imagination.

The whole thing is getting harder and harder to comprehend. Occasionally, when I do sit and think about it and this suddenly awful feeling washes over me, I quickly move my thoughts onto something else before the sorrow overwhelms me.

I’ve been moving my thoughts on pretty efficiently for ten days now.

And I’m worried I won’t ever be able to understand what’s happened because I’m doing the moving-on thing automatically now.

So now I don’t know what to do. How to move on. At the moment, it seems I have relegated him to a compartment in my mind that I’m not sure I’ll open again.

But this man was important to me. He meant a lot. He was a real person and his life must not be allowed to mean nothing.

I guess I’m asking you all what I should do? How do I live with the awfulness of what has happened but not spend all day feeling miserable?

A letter to the world

Dear World,

How are you? What’s that? A bit messy and need some work doing? Ah. Ok. Yes. I did promise I’d help with that, didn’t I? And I did, World. I did. On Day 1, I donned my best dirty Crocs, grabbed a bag and walked around collecting rubbish. I then divided this rubbish into different recycling bins and even recycled the bag itself. On Day 2, I changed my energy supplier to a local renewable energy company. And World, I would like you to know that it was my close friend’s birthday and I sent him an electronic birthday card instead of a paper one, to save your trees.

You see, World, I had had an idea. I would do at least one good thing every day to look after you, to make life a little easier for you, to ensure your health for future generations. I was excited about looking after you. I guess it’s that maternal instinct in me. I like looking after people and things. I also like playing the SuperWoman role when I first get an idea in my head. I will do and be everyone’s hero. I will single handedly cure all of your ills. I will be the answer to every problem. It doesn’t take me long, World, before I realise that I am not capable of this. But I still think I can, every time a new idea comes along.

So Day 1 and 2 came and went, World. I had picked up litter and I had not sacrificed your trees for a birthday card. Then Day 3 came. Let me describe Day 3.

Wake up late. Meet a friend for lunch. Go a friend’s birthday party.

Day 4 looked like this. Wake up early. Work. Go for lunch with a friend. Have friends over for dinner.

Day 5 was as follows. Wake up. Go to work. All day. Come home. Eat. Watch The Tourist. Marvel at the twist at the end and wonder how much weight Johnny Depp had to put on for the film. Go to bed.

You see, World? I had resolved to do something good every day for you. And then life got in the way. But I did do small things for you, World. I turned off the tap when brushing my teeth instead of letting it run like I usually do. I used only public transport to go around seeing my many friends (I’ve got loads! Honest). For dinner, I had food that would have otherwise been thrown away. I didn’t fill the kettle with water to boil it. I only put in as much as I needed. So although Day 3, 4 and 5 rolled by in a haze of work and friends and hardly any sleep, I did a little for you, World. I did a little.

Day 6 is a new day though, World. Out will come the book of tips and out will come my lycra superhero outfit (otherwise known as my dirty purple Crocs). I will do better. There is always room for improvement, after all.

Actually, on that note, you could do with being sunnier in England, World. I’m not criticising. I’m just… You know…. I’m just saying…. You could work on that.

Thanks.

Yours sincerely,

Laura SuperWoman Maisey

Of COURSE there won’t be snow in Africa!

I just have to say something which has been on my mind for a while now. That song, Feed The World, which I thought was Free The World until really recently. It’s ridiculous.

“And there won’t be snow in Africa this Christmastime.”
Duuuuh! Of course there won’t. What that got to do with anything? Is that fact supposed to evoke pity in me?

O no, they won’t have snow, they must be soooo gutted. I bet all that sunshine and warm weather is really bugging them and that they wish, in their hardship, that they had snow. It’s so hard living in a sunny country.

It’s the worst thing ever. If, as we are led to believe by the song, everyone in Africa is sitting around starving and poverty-stricken, do you really think SNOW, of all things, is going to help the situation? Now they’re starving, poverty-stricken and dying of pneumonia.

As an aside, there also “won’t be snow” in Australia this Christmastime but they can think again if they’re expecting a load of food parcels because of it!

The next bit, “The greatest gift they’ll get this year is life.” Talk about talking down to people! Like we’re whispering with a doctor about a cancer ridden old lady. Africa isn’t one massive country unable to do anything for itself or work out how to get food. If you’d have told any of the people in the town in Namibia where I lived that the greatest gift they could expect was to not die, I’m pretty sure they would have found it hilarious. They were people like you or I and they were doing ok. Of course there are places of extreme poverty in many countries in Africa but as a whole, it’s just not possible to write one song, applicable to all, about how everyone is starving. It’s really offensive.

And lastly, “Do they know it’s Christmastime at all?” To be honest, I don’t think it’s very high on the priority list. A lot of African countries aren’t Christian. It makes absolutely no sense to say, ‘O, isn’t it awful? They don’t have any celebrations at Christmas.’ It’s like a Muslim country singing a song about how awful it is for us in Britain and “Do they know it’s Ramadan time at all?” Well, no, I don’t know when Ramadan is, not because I’m terribly unfortunate and you must raise money for me. Just because it’s not something I celebrate anyway. So to say about Africa, do they know it’s Christmas – probably some of them don’t. What on earth has that got to do with how poor they are or aren’t?

And that is my rant over and done with. I’ve been needing to let that out for years over this stupid stupid song.

Thank you.

PS I’ve just remembered that there was a town further inland from Luderitz, where I lived, which did get snow! Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Bob Geldof. Was it Bob Geldof?

More awards. More of my nonsense.

Ok, it is time. Now that all the holidays and fancy lunches have died down, I am going to address the Liebster Award I was given by iamkaturah, who’s blog Internets Can’t Handle Moi, is a fabulous read. She’s young and witty and her blog contains a healthy amount of tongue-in-cheek.

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(This is the first time I’ve ever worked out how to put a banner for an award up, very exciting! Apparently you just copy and paste…..)

The rules are that I answer the 11 questions posed to me. Then I nominate 11 other blogs and pose 11 questions to them.

1. If you were money, where would you most want to be spent?
I would most want to be spent on some amazing food. I would feel well spent then. Something unusual and very tasty. Some lovely truffle oil, maybe.

2. What is the most important quality in a friend?
Calmness. I’m not into the whole friends-with-drama scene. I like a calm life. My brain doesn’t operate well with drama. People who are into the dramatic thing, having awful boy/girlfriends, staying in jobs they hate etc. Then moaning about it. It’s irritating. I’m outta there!

3. What advice would you give to your 16 year old self?
Chill out. Mind you, I like looking back on the anxiety-fraught bad decisions of my teenage years. I would tell me to stop worrying about small stuff because I move to Africa when I leave school and things start to make sense. Life starts happening.

4. What did you think about life when you were 16 compared to now?
I don’t think I really thought about ‘life’,  as a concept. I just went to school, went to work, went to clubs. Now I think life is about finding things you like doing and trying to do them as often as possible. And it’s about finding people you like and spending as much time with them as possible.

5. Chocolate or lollies? Why?
I think chocolate. Because there is a little specialist chocolate shop near where I live and their stuff takes A LOT of beating.

6. Would you rather be a man who looked like a lady or a lady who looked like a man?
Man who looked like a lady.

7. What is the best book you’ve ever read?
It’s a toss up between The Great Gatsby and Tender Is The Night by Fitzgerald, The Ginger Tree by Oswald Wynd and Ahab’s Wife by Sena Jeta Naslund.

8. What is 27 x 16? ( Don’t use a calculator!)
Well, 20 x 10 is 2000. And 20 x 6 is 120. So 20 x 16 is 2120. Now 7 x 10 is 70 and 7 x 6 is 42. So 7 x 16 is 112. So, technically, 27 x 16 should be 2232…. Did I get it right?

9. What is your favourite thing to cook?
Italian food. O, and banana bread.

10. If you could invent anything, what would it be?
A way to insert more hours into a day but without getting tired.

11. Why do you blog?
Because I like it. (See question 4)

So next up, my nominations are as follows:

1. Maggie of SomeoneFatHappened. Yet again. Because she said I can clean her yard for chocolate cereal bars. Four boxes of them.

2. My Little Italian Kitchen. What’s not to love? The clue’s in the title. This blog is one of my favourite recent discoveries.

3. Read Stuff With Me – this blog covers anything and everything and, predictably, is a space which encourages reading, which is a very admirable pursuit, I’d say.

4. Barcelona Street Scraps – Great photos. I love taking time out of my day to browse around the posts on this blog.

5. Reflections of a Book Addict – if nothing else, this is for recently reviewing a book I’ve been wondering about for ages and helping me make up my mind!

6. CyclingEurope.org – a great blog about all things bike-y. His book, Good Vibrations, about cycling to Italy was an obvious winner with me (I’m into all things Italy since my trip to Rome).

7. Fitness and Frozen Grapes, again. The great pictures of food, the impending move to the Big Apple, the Downton Abbey love. It’s all going on in this blog.

8. Little Commas – Because everything in this blog is beautiful. Everything. It’s all very very beautiful. Fact.

9. The Usual Bliss – Her Bliss Bits posts are lovely, that’s why. That’s not the whole reason, but it’s a large part of it.

10. The Idiot Speaketh – Because I think he needs cheering up after his wife gave him an old M&M as a congratulations….

11. Canadian Hiking Photography – This blog was a recent find and the photos are stunning. Check them out.

And my 11 questions are:

1. You go to the fridge and all you find are some garlic bulbs, celery sticks, marmalade, an aubergine, double cream and chilli chocolate. What do you make?

2. What is your favourite part of the day?

3. You can only listen to one song for the rest of your life. Which one is it?

4. How do you feel about Paulo Coelho?

5. How many of the wonders of the world have you seen?

6. What is your favourite place in the world?

7. How long do you stick with a book you’re not enjoying before you give up? Do you give up?

8. Do you think Kylie Minogue should make a comeback?

9. I’d like some good life advice. Do you have any?

10. I’m thinking of taking a minibreak for my next birthday. Any ideas?

11. Zombie films… Love or hate?

This one’s for everyone who’s supported me….

… it’s not really. I’ve not struggled or seen off any adversity to write this blog. I just sit down and write it. But it is for the people who read it. Because that’s amazing. That people read things when I write them. People from all over the world. Just today, my stats page tells me that pageviews came from Korea, Turkey, Brazil, Poland, Greece, Qatar, UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands. That’s just mind blowing. People pooh-pooh the whole technological age, say that social media is not the real world, etc. But I think it’s fantastic. How else would a silly story about a ‘fight’ I had in school be available to those people? I’m not saying people’s lives are greatly enriched by anything I write, nor will I inspire them to transform a new generation of potential world-savers. But lots of things make me giggle. Lots of things in life are very amusing. And if people like it when I point these things out, then that’s enough. My work here is done. I’m off to laugh at a small child pulling a cat’s tail.

Anyway, a few months ago, when I thought to myself, “What is all this blogging nonsense about?” and got involved, it was such a great decision. It’s honestly been so fantastic. As silly as this may sound, it makes me make sure that my life is more exciting. If I have a day free and can’t think of anything to write about, I go on a walk some place interesting, I find somewhere I’ve always passed by but not looked at properly, I photograph something pretty, I read something out of the ordinary. So that I’ll have something interesting to write about. Writing in itself makes me pretty happy and finding good stuff to write about can turn every day into a little adventure.

So thanks for reading, people. I always say I write for myself mainly and numbers aren’t my main priority but when people do actually read it, it feels so great. Well, I don’t need to tell you, you’re all bloggers, you know what I mean.

Ok, that’s my thank you speech over and done with. Now onto the award.

I’d like to thank david-and-emily.com for the Liebster Blog Award. Their blog, Husband & Wife est. 9/18/11,  is great. These guys do an awful lot, on not much sleep, and take exams inbetween it all. Their posts always fill me with feelings of laziness and the thought that I could be doing more.

For this award, I must answer the 11 questions posed to me and ask 11 of my own to 11 nominees. I’m supposed to nominate blogs which have fewer than 200 followers but I don’t know many a lot of them have so I’m just gonna stick in ones I like and hope for the best.

Here goes:

1) Favorite body part to work out and exercise of choice?

I love walking because I love getting to know London and am slowly turning into a total history geek. So I like how the pace of walking let’s you take in everything you’re seeing, better than on a bike when you just whizz by (although I love cycling). Recently I took up swimming quite seriously, and can’t enough of it. I like how my arms feel like they’ve taken a pounding because it makes me think that my bingo wings must be getting smaller…. surely?

2) Job you wish everyone had to do for an entire day in hopes they would gain some perspective?

Cleaning toilets in McDonalds… I’m not sure why. It just came to me. Although, I guess it just makes you appreciate how nice it is not to work in grime. I think actually, something to do with law is important. It makes you understand how and why the law and politics are as they are and why empty statements like, “They should bring back hanging,” don’t make legal or political sense. It really infuriates me, actually, listening to people of the sort who say that, discussing anything remotely important like politics. I physically cannot enter into discussions with them.

3) Favorite Holiday and traditions that go with it – please!  Elaborate!

Holiday? As in a day on which you celebrate e.g. Christmas? Not a holiday I went on to another country? I like Christmas a lot. I read the entire Chronicles of Narnia. I start on the 16th December. They make me feel very magical. That’s it really. The other stuff, like where to spend the day etc, is changeable. So long as I have Narnia, I’m happy.

4) What topic are you really passionate about writing?

I write mostly comedy, I guess, if my writing were to fit into any genre. Lots of things I feel passionate about; genocide, capital punishment, crime and rehabilitation, the importance of understanding between people who are different, (culture, language, ethnicity etc). I don’t necessarily write about these things, though, because I don’t feel it’s the right arena for it or whatever.

5) You wake up in the morning and get a mulligan.  What do you use it on?

My… erm… face? Erm. To pluck my… erm… nose hair?

6) Which teacher motivated you the most or least?

My drama teacher, Miss McGowan. She was just ace. She was teacher age yet she was still fab. Unusual. I just wanted to be in her lessons and be like her. The perfect person to want to be like as floundering 17 year old who just toddled about wanting to be and do everything! I met up with her a few months ago for dinner and it was lovely. She didn’t ruin the illusion of her fabulousness at all. I liked her even more.

7) What lesson learned caught you off guard when you learned it?

Sometimes things can be just as lovely as you wanted them to be. Life and relationships aren’t a constant struggle, like you’re led to believe by older people when you’re younger. Things happen. Of course things happen. I’m not immune to misfortune. You’ve never quite got enough money or you don’t quite agree on everything, or your landlord is rubbish. But whatever. Overall, if you can recognise the things that make you unhappy and banish them, life can be very nice. And is.

8) Finish this sentence: The world would be a better place if everyone:

Considered each other and their own actions a bit more.

9) Grammatical error that drives you batty?

Comma and. For example – I went to the shop, and got some chocolate.

10) Did you take a foreign language in high school/college?  If so what?  If not – did you regret it?

Took French, it’s still quite useful to this day. Not massively useful as I don’t remember much but it doesn’t feel like a foreign language when I hear it or am in France, which makes it easier to attempt.

11) What is something you think people misjudge you for?

Erm… Erm… That I… erm… Ok, this one is quite difficult. My non-ladylike-ness, I guess. I’m not super uncouth or anything. I just don’t do my hair or make-up or wear high heels or anything. I’m too lazy.

Right, enough of my nonsense. Now it’s my turn to quiz my nominees. Here are my nominees.

1) indigo euphoric – This blog is pretty new on the scene and is already providing me with plenty of food for thought. They are the type of posts that I discuss with my friends later in an ‘I totally say/do that too’ type of way

2) Someone Fat Happened – I knew. I just knew when I saw the name of this blog that I was going to like it. Because that’s what happens isn’t it? You’re just going about your business as usual, nothing much going on, then all of a sudden, there are extra rolls. Ridiculous! Who did this to me? This blog captures that feeling exactly. The Korean bathhouse post might be the best thing I’ve read recently.

3) Fitness and Frozen Grapes – I’ve nominated her before and I’m going to nominate her again. Because she’s fab.

4) drinkrunyoga – This blog is fabulous for many reasons, one of them being the amazing before/after pics on a recent wedding anniversary post.

5) St Andrew’s Lynx – The lastest offering, about being imperfect, has stayed in my memory. The photo is beautiful too.

6) Swonderful Smarvellous – Two reasons why this blog is great. 1. The most recent post was about Rome. I am going to Rome in a few days. Hence, I became very excited indeed when reading. 2. The post before that was quotes from Downton Abbey. Amazing.

7) The Unbearable Lightness of Being Me – Little snapshots of life in the Philippines. I went there a few years ago to visit a friend and had a really lovely time so I love remembering that while reading this blog.

8) The Good Greatsby – I just can’t get enough of this blog. My only problem with it is that he doesn’t write often enough. I check here first before I make any important life decisions. His words of wisdom always teach me something.

9) Pa-BLAM! – This blog is great and she’s a great blogger to have on side. I love seeing that she’s commented or liked one of my posts. Although she recently blogged about having a cold, and now I have one…. Suspicious.

10) Humorous Interludes – I love this blog. The horoscopes are very important to me. I am forever grateful to him for his advice about, for example, what to do when on a date with a paleontologist. Which is, like, always. Obviosuly.

11) Better Than IMDB – I always remember his recommendations e.g. if someone suggests a film, I’ll be like, ‘No, I’ve read quite bad reviews about that.’ Then people are like, ‘Where have you read that?’ And I’m not sure. Because I rarely read film reviews in magazines. Then I realise that I’m actually getting the majority of my info from this site!

And my 11 questions to them are as follows:

1) Imagine you are a vegetable. Which one, and why?

2) I have a cold. Can you recommend anything?

3) What is your favourite book? You can only choose one!

4) If you could have one thing you were amazing at, what would it be?

5) What would you chosen Olympic sport be?

6) If you could only eat food from one country for the rest of your life, which one would it be?

7) Do you love tea? If not, do you think it will get in the way of our friendship?

8) You left the house without any trousers/skirt on this morning! Oops! What is your plan of action?

9) How do you feel about cake?

10) You’ve won £1 million on the lottery! How much of it are you willing to donate to a fund for my general wellbeing? (This one is quite important.)

11) If I ask nicely, will you please wear your underwear on the outside of your clothes for the duration of your working day?

The big 100!

Can you believe it? This is blog post number 100! It has been an interesting learning experience. I originally started it because I was having one of those days. We’ve all had them. I had a huge essay to write and I thought I’d take a little walk and stretch my legs before I started. I walked to the river, intending to potter to the next bridge, cross it, then return. And I walked. And I walked….

And I walked…

And walked….

And kept walking a little bit more.

And I couldn’t see any bridges. I had been out for hours. And my brain got ticking. I thought about my essay. I panicked. I’d never get it finished in time. I had no idea what to write. There was no way I’d get 4000 words out of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2006.

I had thought it’d be right up my street when I chose the question. Then I read the Act. It was not juicy and interesting. There was no gossip to be had. It was rules and regulations. Wordy ones. I worried about not finding it interesting as it meant my ‘life plan’ might be in danger. I was worried that my back-up life plan consisted of coffee making and that I’d one day be really old and grey, with rollers in my hair, and a Zimmerframe, standing behind a coffee machine, steaming milk. Forever.

I had a bit of a panic. How can I be approaching thirty and not be in charge of the world already?! I was slacking.

So, for the three and a half hours it took me to get to the next bridge (!) and the hour it took to get to a town centre on the other side, I felt pretty annoyed at myself. I couldn’t believe I’d been trundling along doing ‘not much’ for so long. And I went into a bookshop because that always makes me feel better and somehow found myself holding a book called The Happiness Project.

The author talks about being honest with yourself about the things you find fun (having a book and free time, for example) and doing things you enjoy. She is a writer and enjoys writing so she starts a blog. I thought that I’d start one aswell as I enjoy writing, although I hadn’t done any in years. I’d sort of been contemplating doing one for ages too but couldn’t think what I’d write about. And that’s how this came about.

There have been highs (getting to read Chat magazine and call it ‘research’), the have been lows (eating everything in sight during revision). There have been silly moments (the invention of the catterpony), there have been serious moments (…wait a minute…. have there?). There have been various themes (freedom, the alphabetChat magazine, the way we speak).

But mostly, there has been…. lots of words…. and a high proportion of nonsense.

I am proud of my nonsense. The Happiness Project book introduced me to the idea of being honest with yourself about what you’re good at and what you enjoy. And as much as I wish it were the opposite, making social commentary on the current political climate is not what I want to write about at the moment.

So, here’s to the next 100 posts! I wonder what I’ll be saying then???

Returning to life

Ok, so yesterday I had my last exam. I feel like it went alright but who knows if that signifies anything? I came home in a daze, my exhausted brain barely coping with the whole public transport thing. And suddenly I just couldnt wait to get back to normal things.

 

I had been wanting to do the dishes for days but felt too guilty if I stayed in the kitchen long enough to do them. So finally, I did them! It felt fabulous.

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Then I went to the front room and gathered all the scraps of paper and manuals and textbooks and study guides and I put them in a box and taped it up and put it in the loft. I needed the physical distance from the books for my recovery.

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Then I filled the law book shelf with other books, and it was like I was normal again! I almost went the whole hog and hoovered up but I was suddenly struck with exam-related PTSD and had a nap instead.

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And so to normal life. What to do next? You know when you’ve been ill then you’re well again and you feel like you’ve got a new lease of  life and you decide to take up mountaineering or something? I kind of feel like that.

 

I’m unfortunately not going to take up mountaineering but I did think I might just try doing stuff that I’ve always wanted to do, like be a bit sporty or friendlier or be the type of person who gets excited about stuff. I don’t really get excited about stuff, ever. Not birthdays. Not Christmas. Not royal weddings. Nothing really. And I realised the other day that that’s boring. That’s really boring. To just be so placid and unaffected by anything ever. So I thought I’d give ‘getting excited about stuff’ a go and see how that goes. Anyway, the good news is, I made it through the exams and, due to my guilt for the boringness of all the exam related posts, will be aiming to make my blog far more interesting from now on….

The stupidest day ever?

When I lived in Namibia, I did different things and one of the things I did was worked as a travel consultant for some friends at their travel business. A friend of mine had come out to visit and we took a ten day trip around the country together, which was part-holiday, part-educational for me, to visit places we sold holidays to. It was one the best, but most disaster-prone, holidays I’ve ever been on.

One day, we were staying in a little desert homestead out in the middle of nowhere. (The night before, by the way, I had been driving in the dark because we got lost, which is extremely dangerous, and had hit a small deer. Already the disasters have started.) We decided to go and see the sand dunes the next day. The highest in the world, they are, very exciting. We’d been before but it was amazing so we were excited to go again. We jumped in the car and sped off. You might think I mean, we got ready, got our stuff together, packed a little bag, got in the car and drove there. No. What I literally mean is, ‘We jumped in the car and sped off.’

We got to the reserve and went into the little hut to get our permits to drive in. We had hardly any money between us and no ID. Of course, you need ID and money to get your permit. So we cobbled together enough for the entrance and managed to just talk the lady into letting us both in on the strength of my bank card! Ridiculous. It was just a card with a name on. I didn’t have anything else on me to prove whether I was the person who’s name was on the card or anything!

So we’re in, phew, we won’t be that stupid again. Never again. no, not us. We’ve learned our lesson. We get to the car park and park up. There’s a shuttle service out to the dunes. Which costs money. Of which we have almost none. We gingerly approach the shuttle driver man and present our measly few coins, not enough to cover the cost of taking one of us. I say I am a travel consultant and travelling around, experiencing Namibia, etc blah blah, you can imagine the nonsense I was talking. And talk ourselves onto the shuttle bus!! Great, we’re in! Phew, enough stupidity for today, we say to each other, rolling our eyes, and thinking how silly we are.

We arrive at the dunes. We can’t wait to climb Big Daddy, as the biggest one is affectionately known. We kick off our shoes and socks and dive in. Climbing it is taking forever, we’re hot and exhausted. I can feel my skin prickling in the burning sun, and that’s when I realise it, we didn’t bring any suncream! We came into the desert, on a burning hot day, and we didn’t bring any suncream. I’m also massively thirsty…. Well if we didn’t bring anything else with us, why would we have brought water?

Let’s get this straight. We’ve come to a reserve that you have to buy permits to enter. Which has a shuttle bus service. In the desert. In the morning sun. Without any money, ID, water or suncream. Ok. Are you with me? So you see what I mean about ‘We jumped in the car and sped off.’ Four stupid points to us.

We press on, reach the top of the sand dune, wow, amazing. Let’s jump down! This is SUCH good fun. Swimming in it, rolling, hilarious. I’m so at one with the world and with nature. I just love life so much. This is amazing. Everything’s amazing. Ahhh!

We get to the bottom, walk to the shuttle bus, sit in the back, sand is in every possible space, we laugh and joke about what a great time we’ve had. I’m digging my hands in my pockets, laughing about how they’re full of sand, and that’s when I realise it… my bank card isn’t in my pocket anymore…. it’s in that MASSIVE sand dune. It’s buried in the biggest sand dune in the world, that took me an hour to climb, and of course I wouldn’t have any idea which exact bit I was on. Five stupid points. I’m gathering them at an alarming rate.

Then my friend says to me, “Have you got the car keys?”

And I just knew.

I didn’t even put my hand in my pocket to check. I just knew. And that’s when I uttered the infamous words that she still reminds me of to this day: “We’ll deal with it when we get there.” And then I looked around at the lovely view and pretended it wasn’t happening. We’d be fine, my young confident self thought. It would alllll be fiiiiine.

We managed to get into the car easily. It was old enough that someone with the same make of car just put their key in and opened it! Then he tried his key in the ignition and it started! How lucky. You could take the key out and it would still run so I was ready to drive off straight away and head for the nearest town to get a new key fitted but the man wanted to check something. He turned off the engine. Then it wouldn’t start again. The steering wheel had locked too.

The shuttle bus drivers told us not to worry, they knew how to hot wire a car (comforting thought) and would just take off the casing around the steering wheel and get it started that way. Until no-one had the right shape screw driver. It was rapidly turning into a nightmare. We were stuck in the dessert with no money, no ID, no water, no suncream, no keys, no bank card, and a car we couldn’t start. Eventually some French tourists drove in and had the right shape screw driver and the bus drivers did their thing and showed me how to start it without the keys. I just needed something which had the right shape and I could start it up. Great. We were off.

The next day, nearing a town where we could get it all fixed, I stopped off for petrol. We couldn’t get into the petrol tank, could we? Because we didn’t have the keys. I also didn’t have a bank card to withdraw any money to pay for it. Thankfully, my nice friend put her bank account at our disposal for the remainder of the trip as I was financially stranded. A man from the garage came with a massive crow bar and levered the cap open so we could fill it. As we were getting ready to go, I put my house key into the dodgy unhooked ignition on the car, and the little piece of plastic in the barrel broke……..

I thought I was going to lose it. I felt like lying on the ground in the dessert and waiting for hyenas and lions to come and fight over my dried-up, un-watered, un-suncreamed body. I forget how we made it to the next town, I think the madness settled in and I blacked out for a day or two.

PS 20 days till exams. Still on Theft.