Posts Tagged ‘story’

She’s leaving home

Except she’s going with her Dad, not a man from the motor trade. And she’s not really leaving home, she’s going home. But she’s leaving me. It feels like the end of an era. In dedication to my friend‘s time in the spare bedroom, I have put together a compilation of the best moments of her stay.

1. Wednesday evenings in front of the TV watching The Apprentice and marveling at the stupidity.

2. Tuesday evenings at the pub quiz, which we got steadily worse at the more we went.

3. Baking biscuits with Smarties in for the schoolchildren Naomi taught.

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4. The time we watched Ru Paul’s Drag Race All Stars and persuaded Danda to watch the Lip Sync For Your Lives bit at the end and, despite himself, he got into it a bit.

5. The time we went out dancing to a swanky club in London town and they put on Breathe by Sean Paul and Blu Cantrell and we went crazy for it. It was less good when I asked the DJ for a bit of Beyonce and he put on some unknown song off an album or something when he totally should have played Irreplaceable or Single Ladies.

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6. Getting home from work and Naomi telling me she’d woken up about two hours ago.

7. Watching First Dates and loving it. O the awkwardness, o the embarrassingly awful attempts at conversation with a complete stranger, o the hilarity.

8. Reminiscing about our travels in Asia.

9. Making marshmallows and banana cake to celebrate my new job and then eating loads of the un-set marshmallow mixture and feeling too full by the time the marshmallows where actually ready to eat.

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10. Planning how we will make our millions. Because we will make them. We just have to figure out how. At one point, we decided we would write a childrens’ book and get rich and famous like JK Rowling. We still need to finish that story.

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A new year of Chat

Ok, seeing as it’s a new year, I didn’t want to get too far into it before updating you all on Chat’s latest offerings. I know you miss it if I leave it too long.

The first thing to pop up on the Silly-o-meter is a photo of a woman wrapped in foil, reading Chat, and the caption, “All that foil didn’t stop my friend enjoying her favourite mag.”

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Err…… Ok….

Next is the inevitable fat story. Lou, at 48st, was told she had a BMI of 93 and must have an operation to save her from her own fat. That’s right, a BMI of 93! It should be between 18 and 25. You’re counted as obese if you are over 30! There are the obligatory photos of her in clothes which look like duvet covers for double beds and then a photo of her at ‘just’ 38st. Fabulous.

I mean, I get confused by people who are so overweight they can’t stand up or walk. At some point, one day, you noticed that you had stopped being able to get out of bed. At some point, that realisation occurred. And some small part of you must have thought, ‘O god, this is bad. Maybe I should do something about it?’ And you then, after thinking that, decided to do nothing about it. Why would you decide to do nothing? The woman in this story has a daughter. Even if she didn’t like herself enough, surely she thought of her daughter when deciding not to do anything about her weight?

The next story is called ‘Tall, dark, handsome and dangerous’ and, even without reading it properly, I can see it’s going to be quite mental. “My obsessed ex slashed my horse… I logged onto my internet dating profile….. I’d been single a few months after an eight year relationship…. He was jealous of my love for my horse, Jessie.” Yeh…. I’m not going to linger too long on that page.

Next it’s the medical pages. The best letter, by far, is called ‘Big bum!’ and is from Sandy, 34, who wants to know if buttock firming exercises will work. That’s right. Instead of just trying the bum exercises because she hates her big bum so much, she has written to Chat about it, to check whether they will work. As if she’s not capable of carrying out the basic daily functions of life unless Chat has okay-ed them first.

There is also a letter from a woman called MeLisa. I’m sorry, what’s that? Do I say me, Lisa? Is it like a normal name with ‘me’ at the front? Should I change my name to MeLaura? Or is it just Melissa with a capital L in the middle of it?

And now it’s time for the finale. The ultimate Chat story – a woman who is in love with a bus. Yes. A bus. In fact, she’s not just in love with it, she’s in a relationship with it.

She married and had three children. When her marriage broke up she realised the Routemaster bus called Ronnie, that she’d seen many times at the London Transport Museum, was who she was meant to be with!

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Yep. Now her and Ronnie are in a committed relationship. “How could I ever cheat on my Ronnie?.. Our love is real,” she says. “Ronnie and I are meant to be together. Christmas Cards from friends were written, To Ash and Ronnie.”

And that is all I have to say about that story. It speaks for itself really, doesn’t it?

A book review or two

In my quest to Finish All The Books I’m In The Middle Of Reading, I have found a few gems that I thought I’d tell you about.

First up is Good Vibrations: Crossing Europe on a Bike Called Reggie by Andrew Sykes. This is the story of a man who, after resolving to spend his summer doing next to nothing, gets a little bored and dreams of adventure. He decides to travel from his home in Reading to the southern tip of Italy, following a route known as the Via Francigena. He covers France, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Italy.

For five weeks, he heads determinedly toward southern Italy and the book details the hours spend on the bike each day and the distance covered. Once you have seen a few of these, you start to understand the massive task that he is carrying out. His writing is extremely readable. I’d often intend to read a few pages while on the bus or before work and find myself transported to a campsite where Andrew and Reggie searched for somewhere away from the noisy midnight fishers or party people. Suddenly I was late for work or had almost missed my stop.

Andrew makes sure we are privy to everything his trip threw at him. Rarely are we left with a quick summing up of an entire day in a few sentences. I really love the diary style of this book. It puts you right there in the scene with him and Reggie and connects you to his journey in a way that, upon finishing it with him, you experience a sense of achievement.

Various things stick out in my memory on finishing the book. The scene where Andrew and Reggie cross the lake near Buochs in Switzerland and we are given a detailed explanation of how one “lashes” a bike to boat had me laughing out loud. When Andrew stops for lunch near the end of his journey, in Valrano Scala, and finds something called a “chip pizza” I was utterly mystified. The entire Italy section was very exciting reading for me anyway, given that I have had a preoccupation with Italian cuisine for quite some time and I am also going to Rome in a few weeks. So I read with anticipation and soaked up every bit of it. Then the scene with the chip pizza occurred. And it made me doubt everything. It make me doubt my trip, the Italians, and the future of food in general. What was this madness?! I have since been assured that chip pizzas are very tasty…. I remain sceptical.

Another thing which struck me about this trip is people’s willingness to offer a helping hand. Andrew finds a welcoming face every so often on his trip and these people always show such kindness, it makes you feel good about people in general (the chip pizza inventor excepted).

It is a lovely lovely book. A little while ago I read a book about a man who cycles to India, called You’ve Gone To Far This Time, Sir and love love loved it. Therefore, when I saw this book, about another cycling journey, I came to it with high expectations, having had such a great read last time. I was thankfully not disappointed. It is well written and fascinating. In light of epic journeys being taken, I have start making more solid plans for a walking adventure. Given that I can be quite lazy though, I think Andrew and Reggie will put me to shame as I’ll probably just walk to the shops for some chocolate and back….

(I read this book on the Kindle app on my phone.)

I thought I’d do another quick book review as I recently finished listening to The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivy on Audible.com and it was very good. It was read beautifully, the story was beautiful and it’s one of those books I keep telling people to listen to if I hear they have the Audible.com app.

An older couple decide to move to Alaska and buy some farming land, against the advice of their families. They are childless and it has always been an unspoken heartache between them. Their first few months are hard but one day, with wild abandon, they play outside in the snow and build a snowman. Well, more precisely a snow-girl. They put a scarf on it and carve a face. When they wake up, the scarf is gone and for a long time afterwards, they catch glimpses of a little girl running in the woods outside their home.

The development of this story is handled with such skill that your thoughts on first hearing about the ‘girl’ they see are a world away from your thoughts when the story concludes. It’s a story that creeps up on you. First you’re just listening every so often, thinking that the book is quite good. Then suddenly, you can’t wait to take your break at work, in order to listen to a few more minutes of it.

Finishing this book was something that took a few days of recovery. My initial thoughts about the final scene changed over time and I still feel uncertain about exactly what happened.

It is a book of uncertainties and therein lies the beauty of it. It is intriguing and enticing. It draws you in steadily until every twist and turn occupies your thoughts long after you have stopped listening/reading.

It is also read very well. When I downloaded and listened to a few other books, I realised how lucky I had been with the reader of The Snow Child. If you are already with Audible.com, listen to this book.

Reasons why my big brother is cool

When the older years and younger years at primary school had play time together and my friends and I were playing with a ball, whenever I got it, I’d run over to my big brother and shout ‘chuck it!’ and he’d throw it really far. I remember thinking I’d never seen anyone throw a ball that far in my entire life.

When we got sweets at the shop, he made up a cool game where he was the bin. To play, I’d press his nose and his mouth would open. I’d press his nose again and his mouth would close. Then I’d press it and he’d chew the sweet. Then I’d press again and he’d swallow it. Inevitably, my brother cleverly got all the sweets and I got none. But it was SUCH a fun game!

He listened to way cool music. I went through a phase where I decided that I’d like exactly the same music as him, to try and extract some of his coolness. I listened to Fugees and Nas and didn’t understand a word but I knew it was cool.

I used to sit and watch him play computer games while I’d write my little stories. I didn’t really know what Championship Manager was about but I’d watch him play it for ages nonetheless.

We used to get up early on weekend mornings, put our duvets on the stairs and get a sleeping bag. One person would get into the bottom of the sleeping bag and the other would sit at the top and we’d bump down the stairs. It was WAY more fun than it sounds.

He and his friends would play football on the back field and I’d sit nearby, reading or writing a little story. When the ball would roll too far, I’d run and collect it for them. Like a one-girl fan club! Just lingering around, watching them run about and not having a clue what was going on.

Sometimes we were allowed to put up the two man tent in the back garden and sleep overnight in it. We’d hang out in the tent feeling like we were on a massive adventure. That was fun.

I heard my brother tell a joke once so I told it to everyone I knew. It went like this – What do you get if you go under a cow? A pat on the back. I honestly had no idea what was funny about it! I thought it meant that you were really brave for going under the cow. People laughed when I told it and I didn’t know why. But because my big brother had said it, I said it.

My big brother was the coolest guy in his school when on the final year photos he did a cool hand gesture thing. I forget what it was. I just remember thinking he was pretty out-there and fun.

My big brother taught me how to ride a bike. I learned really late and was quite embarrassed about it and one day, he took me to the race track on the back field and taught me how to ride. Thanks for that, by the way!

When my big brother got married last year, he asked me to do a reading in the ceremony. Amazing. My cool big brother wanted ME to do a reading at his wedding. It is still the best wedding I’ve ever been to. Well, of course it was. It was MY big brother’s wedding!

Happy birthday, big brother!