All 29 entries tagged Diary

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October 29, 2005

Life in London town

Tis all good, I think, though I've found the past few weeks quite tiring and stressful. New job, new people, the joys of commuting, training courses, and still not found anywhere to live.

I love working in London, though, especially the fact that my office is literally 2 minutes away from Covent Garden. Also love walking across Hungerford Bridge every morning and night, being surrounded by people and life, meeting up with friends on a regular basis, staying with Marion and Dave (my aunt and uncle) and their cats. Don't like the tube much, but I seem to be doing a good job of avoiding it thus far. I feel happier than I have in quite a while.

The accommodation thing is a bit of a stress, but I'm hoping to get that sorted in the next week or so (basically as soon as I get paid). I am also worried about my own ability/intelligence/general aptitude, especially compared to other Fast Streamers. I'm trying not to panic about learning and understanding everything immediately, asking lots of questions (mostly acronym-related) and trusting that it will all start to make sense at some point in the not-too-distant future.

Visiting Adam in Warwick this weekend. A bit strange to be back, but I like it better than I did when I actually lived here myself.

Hmmm fairly banal entry, but I thought it was about time I updated t'blog.


October 05, 2005

'Retail therapy' is in no way therapeutic

Okay apologies for the following self-indulgent rant, but ‘tis my blog and therefore I shall self-indulge and rant away to my heart’s content if the desire so takes me. In any case, doing so probably saves small children and other such creatures from being subjected to a great outpouring of vitriolic hate, glowering and muttering, and so the ranting of my rage into blog form is really an act of extreme altruism on my part.

Maybe I'm just missing the requisite gene or something, but I absolutely hate shopping. The only time I have ever enjoyed it is when lacking the necessary resources to do so effectively, at which point I seem to find all manner of fripperies on which to waste/spend my non-existent cash. I also quite enjoyed shopping in night-markets in Taiwan, but that was because you could get a pair of shoes, 3 pairs of jeans, a top, a pet turtle and a meal of stinky tofu and egg fried rice for the equivalent of a tenner or less.

But now, when I actually have money (or rather a credit card with 0%-interest-till-April-2006 just crying out to be abused) and need to buy clothes for starting work, I cannot bring myself to trawl around these temples to consumerism, let alone worship at the shrine of the checkout desk. It doesn’t help that all the clothes in the shops at the moment are weird. Maybe it’s just me getting old, but what’s with the silly little knee-length breeches all over the place at the moment? Worn with tights?! And bizarre cowboy boots? Weren’t pedal pushers bad enough? When I did find something that I liked, it was only ever available in a size 6 or an 18, neither of which looked particularly good. And why can’t Gap ever manage to label its clothes with the correct size? Yes, I know the sizes are American, but even I know that a size 0, either UK or US, should not be baggy on me – or indeed anyone.

In the end, out of sheer desperation and fatigue, I went into M&S and bought multiple pairs of socks and tights, just so I felt that I’d accomplished something. I then fell down the up escalator, and had to buy a ridiculously over-priced bagel to recover. Then the train got stuck just outside Leeds station for ages, which meant I missed my bus from Huddersfield to Denby Dale and had to walk for miles which pissed me off no end.

So this time next week I'll be halfway through my first week at work and will have no clothes to wear, besides some brand spanking new socks. In fact this time next week I'll probably be about ready for retirement, certainly home-time at the very least. Am feeling faintly terrified about the prospect of starting work, which is probably why I am selfishly whinging about clothes, shopping and public transport. It’s all just displacement activity to distract self from sheer terror / worry / blah blah blah.

Shut up Ros.


September 20, 2005

Au revoir les canards…

I'm going back to Yorkshire this afternoon, as am still feeling knackered and have developed bizarre painful lump in neck (my brain losing its way in my head?). Actually that's not really why I'm going back to Yorkshire, it's more to see parents and cat and go shopping in Leeds – hooray! and it's shopping wot is allowed since I have no clothes for starting work in 3 weeks time.

Am really going to miss the ducks. I don't think they have ducks in Yorkshire. Et le chum. They definitely don't have le chum in Yorkshire.

I feel sort of displaced. Odd that my time at Warwick has come to an end, but mostly a relief to be honest. Odd that I'm still here when all the other MA students have buggered off, but I'm not part of the place. Not that I ever was, not really. Odd that I haven't really moved on to the next stage either, and don't even have anywhere to live in London yet.

During the next month or so you can probably catch me on a train somewhere between Wakefield, London, Coventry and/or a small village near Windsor. Occasionally stopping still for a few minutes to breath the air and feed the ducks.


September 13, 2005

A Weighty Tome

  • Words written excluding biblio and appendices: exactly 18,000
  • Pages: 83
  • Articles, prepositions, conjunctions and other 'unnecessary' grammatical features removed to get down to word limit: All of them
  • Hours slept in past week: feels like 0
  • Hours I plan to sleep tomorrow: 25
  • Number of phone calls to my mum today: 6
  • Tears shed: 5 million
  • Likelihood the printer will break / the university will suffer a power failure / lazer lizard won't be able to bind it before 3 o'clock tomorrow: oh very likely indeed

Am knackered
but it's done.

Finalement.


September 08, 2005

Regrets

My time at Warwick is almost at an end and I feel a very odd sense of sadness to be leaving, a sort of nostalgia for what might have been had I been more … and less…

I wish I'd smiled and laughed more, gone out more, got to know new people, and stayed in touch with friends and family better. I wish I'd got more involved in the university, done some voluntary work, learned a new language, read more books. I wish that I'd been more motivated to learn new things. I wish I'd spent more time at the arts centre, seen more plays and gone to the cinema (and tesco!!) more often. I wish that I had trusted and followed my instincts more ('cept then I would have left). And most of all that I'd been friendlier and a nicer person.

I wish I'd cried less and not felt so angry. I wish I'd felt less stressed and worried and actually thought more about what I was doing and learning. I wish I'd spent less time on Virgin trains and more time at my destinations, with the people I love and care about. I wish I'd spent less time over-analysing everything and beating myself up for not being perfect.

This is starting to sound like one of those inane 'life-affirming' email forwards so I will shut up now. And in any case, if I had this (academic) year to live again, I would probably do exactly the same things again, so it's not like I can claim to have learned from the experience. Onwards…


September 02, 2005

The Shepherdess and the Squire

Once upon a time there was a young shepherdess, who lived in a lawless land in the North mostly populated by vagabonds and suicide bombers. The shepherdess’ only task was to tend her flock and protect them from harm. However, the young shepherdess became disenchanted by the monotony of life on the harsh moors, having high aspirations for herself. Besides which, the sheep were all well ‘ard and unappreciative of the toil she lavished upon them – ungrateful bastards.

One day, when she was tending her sheep in a lonely tract of land, she suddenly felt an urge to dress herself in robes of splendour and escape her sorry situation. She donned a little wild rose-wreathed shepherdess hat and her best woollen frock and, clasping her crook tightly, set off in a southerly direction to seek her fortune, leaving her flock to fend for itself amidst the wilds of the fells.

She soon stumbled across an ancient city filled with young knights, who spent most of their days and nights quaffing port and guffawing loudly. Some of them were rather dashing, which appealed greatly to the young shepherdess as she had only ever seen scabby sheep before. However, she found her mind to be as woolly as her tattered dress, and however much she tried to impress the knights, they only haw-hawed with laughter at her (or rather she imagined they did, being a girl who suffered from a kind of nervous paranoia).

One day she discovered a potent magic elixir and began to swig it by the flagon. It made her feel more intelligent and confident, and when she fed enough of it to the knights they believed she was really a beautiful princess disguised as a young shepherdess and jostled for her affections. However, she saw their superficiality for what it was, and this saddened her greatly.

She travelled to far off lands; she met a couple of handsome princes but nothing much came of it; she read extensively; she made friends steadfast and true; she continued to guzzle the magic elixir; she wept. She was never content.

The young shepherdess became an older shepherdess, and grew wise to the ways of the world. She almost forgot about her humble existence on the harsh, wind-swept moors.

One day the shepherdess met an itinerant squire, who lavished affection and garibaldi biscuits upon her. He borrowed a trusty steed from his master, Sir Humphrey, and they galloped off to a land of leeks, daffodils and dragons together. As they swept over a mountain pass, they realised they were downwind from a particularly pungent land rover, and so with a clatter of hooves and screech of brakes they pulled over to the side of the trail to clear their heads a little in the cool mountain air.

While they were standing there admiring the view they witnessed a great commotion. Suddenly a flock of wild sheep came running down through the heather, craning their necks and rolling their eyes and making a terrible kafuffle. The squire thought that the shepherdess might be fearful, not realising that she had once tended such creatures herself. He told her not to worry, but before he was able to place her back up on the trusty steed safe from harm, they saw one of the sheep run up to a fellow traveller to nuzzle his hand.

The shepherdess had never seen such a sight, coming as she did from a land of uncouth mean northern sheep who had nowt to do with no one. ‘Ey up!’ said the shepherdess. ‘Look at them sheep. Ave we got owt to feed em with?’

The squire found a packet of Jaffa cakes in the back of the steed, and before they knew it the sheep were clustering around them. The sheep feasted well, bleating please and thank you in a most charming manner and allowing the squire and the shepherdess to pat them.

This pleased the shepherdess greatly, who had only experienced loutishness and ingratitude from her irreverent flock oop north. She realised that all she had ever wanted was to look after appreciative, gentle animals such as these, and that her earlier ambitions to become a grand lady adorned in fine frocks were hollow and futile.

The squire was inspired to write a seminal paper entitled ‘The Sociology of Sheep’, which made his name and fortune. He became a renowned academic who was well-respected amongst the ovine community, the shepherdess tended his research subjects (as well as the odd piranha that passed through their estate), and they both lived happily ever after.


August 30, 2005

more no

One minute all is marrrrrv, am soaking up the sun and shopping near Hammersmith, following lovely few days with A feeling reasonably relaxed (for me anyway).... next minute am feeling crazed and panic-stricken. arrrrrgh!

I hate my BLUDDY dissertation. And I think I may hate London, or at least I find it an immensely stressful placce to be; slightly problematic given I should be moving here in a few weeks. And I shouldn't drink coffee, it makes me loopy. Bollards. Back to it anyway.

Will write proper stuff soon/later when not in internet caff.


August 20, 2005

Le canard qui rit

What in Diva Duck's sweet name am I doing on campus on a Saturday? Such a catastrophe has not befallen me for quite some time, with the result that I'm not sure how to deal with it.

I invited a friend to come and stay, but she's mysteriously disappeared off the face of the earth (probably because I made it sound so utterly unappealing), and in any case I should write my… I'm not even going to write that word again until the thing is actually finished and handed in.

What if I inadvertently rot (of course this would be inadvertent, stupid girl, it's not generally something that people aspire to do)? Would the ducks notice? Would they even care? This duck is laughing at my plight. Bastard.

Ooh just got invitation to go to Rugby. Now that's better. Except… where is Rugby?


August 17, 2005

Devon Diaries and Dairies and Lashings of Clotted Cream

Follow-up to Things Wot I Ave Learned In Devon from L'Etrangère

All the pictures from the weekend are here

Friday 12/08/05
Leonie and I arrived at Paignton around midday and met Thomas and Helen off the train. Thankfully Leonie was not relying on my map-reading skills to get us from Bracknell to Paignton, otherwise we might have ended up in Bognor by mistake (where is Bognor anyway?). Had fish, chips and mushy peas, birthday cake and wine on the beach followed by a round of crazy golf, during which I learned that I have no hand-eye coordination and should probably try to curb my swearing in the presence of small children. Thomas had his hegemonic masculinity challenged by a family behind us who thought it was funny that the only boy in the group was taking the longest to pot the ball. But then I lost, and we all got slightly sunburnt.

Drove to our B&B along the coast road, which entailed a car ferry crossing at Dartmouth, beautiful sea views and roads where we had to breathe in whenever we passed another car. Went for dinner in Outer Hope Cove at slightly scary Fawlty Towers-esque restaurant charging £10.50 for a cheese omelette, but luckily we were offered a slightly cheaper bar menu instead, as well as the opportunity to sit 'with the other young people' in a tent. Failed to find the 'wall to wall pubs' tantalisingly proffered by the Rough Guide so we had to make do with Fawlty Towers, but declined the offer of the tent, tempting though it sounded. Encountered a badger, a ghost police car, and glow worms on our return to the B&B, and nearly got run over multiple times as had forgotten to bring torch. And so ended the first day…

Saturday 13/08/05
Leonie, Helen and I got up at 7.30am for a pre-breakfast run. Unfortunately, we started off by running 180 degrees in the wrong direction (unsurprisingly on my advice), but in doing so discovered Marlborough, which did appear to have wall to wall pubs, unlike Outer Hope Cove. Ran about 3 miles which set us up well for our cooked breakfast, fruit, porridge with clotted cream, toast, kippers etc. etc.

Despite the fact that I was dragged up mountains from an early age, subjected to orders of 'at the double!' when confronted with sheer cliff faces and scree slopes, and told by my father that mud, driving rain and biting winds would 'make a man' of me, I still came to Devon rather ill-prepared for hiking, with little in the way of sensible clothes for a walk characterised by serious lashings of rain and wind (but unfortunately no ginger beer). Worst of all, didn't even bring a hip flask! I appear to have learned nothing from those early childhood experiences.

Coastline was beautiful until mists and fogs rolled in, and 7 miles later we arrived in Salcombe looking like drowned rats and promptly stumbled into the nearest pub. Which was full. As was the one next to it. And the next. Arrrgh! We finally found somewhere for lunch and attempted to dry off under a broken hand drier. The 3 miles back to the B&B were spent bemoaning my lack of dry clothes and stupidity in wearing shorts (stinging nettle laceration) whilst watching the slugs play.

Made it back in time for tea and the remainder of Thomas' chocolate cake, and since weather was still manky we played cards in the bar until dinner time, at which point I consumed a further 6932 calories (nearly all clotted cream related). Burned it off with an enthusiastic round of post-dinner dominoes, which reminded me of being 11 and walking the Coast to Coast with my dad and stepmother.

Sunday 14/08/05
Weather gorgeous this morning, and managed to run in right direction towards Hope Cove today- again probably about 3 miles. We accidentally herded a load of cows along the track with us, but the stupid things wouldn't move to one side to let us pass. Anyway, it was a beautiful morning – sunny, fresh, the smell of the sea lingering on the breeze – but best of all we found the part of Hope Cove (Inner Hope) containing the wall to wall pubs. As it was only 7.45am, we resisted the temptation to go in. Big hill back up from the sea to finish, but felt fantastic and ready for a full cooked breakfast (and juice, fruit, cereal, toast, porridge, and lashings of clotted cream – you get the picture).

We headed off to Dartmouth to catch the 'Tally Ho' school bus and the 12 o'clock boat trip up to Totnes, during which we were regailed by many an amusing tale about sixth formers shagging in the local nature reserve. Oh and saw lots of birds – egrets, buzzards, cormorants and ducks (of course). The stories were not quite so amusing on the journey back to Dartmouth, but luckily we'd had a pub lunch and perused the streets of Totnes in the interim period, and so they almost sounded original given my dodgy short-term memory and inability to remember what I did two hours ago.

Speaking of which, the list that ensues was supposed to be written up properly at a later date (I was too tired and probably pissed to write in full sentences at the time), but I can't actually make any sense of it now as a whole three days have lapsed and it all seems like a bit of a mystery to me now (particularly the reference to 'amazon' – what the hell is that all about?). Thomas you were right, you said I wouldn't remember. So you'll just have to fill in the gaps yourself and make it up:

  • drove into hedge
  • amazon
  • lunch v good
  • castle £££
  • walked on walls that weren't really there
  • odd objects contest – we were beaten by precocious five year old
  • sleep and seagull
  • icecream, but not maple and ginger. Liars.
  • famous five
  • sunset
  • radioactive scrumpy in wall to wall pub
  • chicken and mushroom pie
  • nuclear fission – we're all going to die
  • halogen
  • 3 dimensional noughts and crosses

Hmmm. Any ideas?

Monday 15/08/05
Ran to Hope Cove again before breakfast this morning – weather was perfect, sunny, not too hot, sea breeze, and the cows didn't come for a run with us this time. After eating, packing, paying etc. we drove to the sea along the scariest supposedly minor roads (according to the OS map) I have ever witnessed. Mile upon mile of single track road bordered by thick hedgerows with no passing places and no way of turning off. We all just closed our eyes (except Leonie, who was driving) and desperately hoped we wouldn't encounter another car.

Largely unscathed, though the poor car looked filthy, we set off on a hike along the clifftops to Start Point lighthouse, a route which took us via the ruined village of Hallsands, which washed away into the sea after a violent storm in 1917. We walked a couple of miles further along the coastline from here – spectacular scenery, perfect weather and lots of wildlife. When we got back to the car we went swimming, carefully avoiding the jellyfish, and got an alternative view of Hallsands from the sea. Finished off with cream tea (well tea and icecream for me) at the Trouts, which is a hotel originally established by four sisters from the village that washed into the sea.

We left at 5 o'clock, dropped H&T in Newton Abbot and drove back to Bracknell, a drive which sadly wasn't as memorable as the rest of the trip. All I can say is I had a fantastic four days, full of exercise, food and fun, and it felt much longer than a long weekend too.

So thanks to Thomas for having a birthday, Helen for sorting it all out and booking it, Leonie for driving along those single track nightmares they call roads in Devon and for the lift to and from Bracknell, and of course to all of you for the great company and a really lovely weekend. Thank you x


August 16, 2005

Things Wot I Ave Learned In Devon

  1. Somerset is in the south-west of England not the south-east.
  2. Neither is it one of the home counties.
  3. Cheddar is in Somerset. Cheese lives here.
  4. Glastonbury is also in Somerset, not the Midlands, as one might think.
  5. Torquay is famous for Fawlty Towers. It is situated in Devon. It is not famous for its fine surf and surfers (that would be Newquay then… which is in Cornwall)
  6. Bracknell is south of Coventry, not east.
  7. My geographical knowledge is equivalent to that of a backward 3 year old child, and I should probably never have been allowed out of Yorkshire in the first place (I know Yorkshire is in the north though – 10 points to me).
  8. You can't buy wine at motorway service stations. This is terrible.
  9. It is not really the case that nature has recently become inundated by communes of lesbian ducks springing up all over the place; it is just that mallards lose their plumage (and hegemonic masculinities) out of mating season and look female.
  10. Devon is much more than a bleak depressing wind-swept expanse of moorland filled with invisible Bronze Age hut circles and bracken that needs bashing into oblivion with only a garden cane for assistance (my only previous experience of the place coming from a National Trust working holiday when I was 17).

The rest of the Devon diary (which is rather more diary-esque in character) to follow, once I have sorted out my life, general stupidity levels and masculinities chapter. I may be some time.


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