Sunday, 21 September 2014

Things I've learned this week

This week has been one full of life lessons which I felt it necessary to share with you. I might possibly, slightly be stating the obvious but I'll crack on regardless.

Life Lesson Number One.

Thieves don't discriminate.

If you leave your bike unattended they will steal it. They will steal it even when said bike is fifteen years old, has flat tires and no working brakes.

Granted, I did leave the bike outside in the hope that this would happen because nobody wanted to buy it for a tenner on Gumtree and I couldn't be bothered driving it around to the recycling centre. Despite wanting it to happen I still felt a little bit violated when it did go missing.

Life Lesson Number Two

The moment that you feel motivated to get back into the exercise malarkey, you will fall ill.

A couple of weeks ago, I went for a run which brought me back to life after a little slump. I was filled with energy and excitement to get back into some form of routine exercise, to start feeling bouyant again instead of deflated. I immediately got the cold.

Last week, I went swimming and bought a new bike. I started to feel excited at the possibility of going exploring on my new bike while the sun was still shining in Edinburgh.  I immediately got the cold.

I can't get rid of this bloody cold now which means that I haven't exercised in over a week, have spent a ridiculous amount of time watching Gossip Girl, and haven't really had the energy to do anything productive at all.

Life Lesson Number Three. 

You should exercise restraint when it comes to kissing people who are full of the cold.

This is true, even in those situations when you think that because you had the cold first that you have passed it to them and somehow you are exempt from catching the bugs. You are not. You will get ill and you will be forced to confront life lesson number four.

Life Lesson Number Four

Other people will not be so forthcoming with their kisses when you are ill.

Not only can I not persuade him to even give me a kiss, but I am also not allowed to stand within a five metre radius, breathe in his general direction or cook anything lest I breathe all over the food. Having the cold is miserable and lonely and I just want to STOP SNOTTERING!

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Challenge Number 9 - part 1. Car booting

There are some who might think that this month's challenge is a bit of a cop-out as it didn't involve some wacky, fitness related activity. I would suggest, however, that anyone who doubts how challenging a car boot sale is obviously hasn't been to one and met some of the characters who frequent these events. Characters like the man wearing a t-shirt which said 'It's not how deep you fish, it's the wriggle of your worm.''

Or this weirdo wearing ear muffs in summer weather.

(This is actually my lovely mother who puts up with my mad ideas and my lack of organisational skills every day).

You get all sorts, you really do.

It was also a big challenge for me as I have recently come to the realisation that I'm an obsessive hoarder. In fact, I'm so convinced by this that I suspect that my fifteen minutes of fame will be on one of those terrible television programmes where people crawl into my house and exclaim with distaste things like..

''You have how many wardrobes full of clothes!?''


''Exactly how many pairs of pyjamas does one person need? Clearly she is deranged.''

It's not that I'm particularly materialistic. In fact as I age, I'm much less interested in material things, clothes especially. Rather it's that I'm ridiculously sentimental about things. Rooting through my drawers trying to decide what could go and what couldn't was therefore a fairly emotional experience. I came across many things I couldn't bear to part with, like the top I wore the first night I met Ryan, the jumper that was my favourite six years ago and the jeans I wore that time I bought a pizza from Asda and the person behind the counter put just the right amount of toppings on it.  Of course I also struggled to part with anything which looked like it might still vaguely fit me (''I'm sure I'll wear it again one day. It will definitely come back into fashion at some point. Right?'').

Worst of all, I think, is the depth of my attachment to anything which was gifted to me. A prime example of this is that Ryan once asked to use one of my toothbrush heads as he'd ran out and I refused on the grounds that my Mum put them in my stocking for Christmas and they wouldn't be 'special' anymore if he used them. You can see that this might present a problem for throwing things out. Oh no, not that top. It was a Birthday gift eight years ago. Do I ever wear it anymore? No but that's beside the point. Nope, I can't throw away that hot water bottle because I bought it with a gift voucher my aunt gave me and I'll feel sad. Does one person need seven hot water bottles? Probably not but it's the principle of the matter isn't it? However, despite my clearly obsessive hoarder proclivities I actually managed to select quite a lot of items to take to the car boot sale and I only cried on about three occasions so it was all good.

I arranged for my Mum to come through to my flat the night before so we could get up early on the day. My collection is so expansive that it spreads into her house too so she spent some time cleaning out the wardrobe in my old room. She loaded everything in her car and drove an hour and a half to Edinburgh only to be told that, ten minutes before she arrived at my flat, I had discovered that the car boot sale we planned to go to was actually held on Sunday instead of the Saturday. OOPS - sorry Mummy!

Thankfully we found an alternative venue to flog all my precious, precious items on the Saturday as originally planned. The day went well and I managed to make £110 to split between the two charities that I'm raising money for. I might have been a bit sentimental about parting with those items but knowing that the funds raised are going towards something so positive definitely makes it much easier.

p.s - This is part one of this month's challenge because I plan to continue with the 'giving away' theme and donate some blood but I need to wait until I'm over these pesky colds that keep infecting me.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

I forget the rest

Technically this quote is paraphrasing the wonderful Walt Whitman. If you're interested, what he actually wrote was ''day by day and night by night we were together - all else has long been forgotten by me''

Today is a remarkable day for me because it marks nine years to the day that I successfully managed to chat up a boy with floppy, blonde highlighted hair and ripped jeans. Or, if you're minded to believe his side of the story, it's been nine years since I responded positively to a group of young men catcalling me as I stumbled drunkenly out of the nightclub toilets. I'm all for being a strong, independent woman so I'm going to stick with the first explanation. Girl power and all that.

Ordinarily, chatting up boys with floppy hair and ripped jeans, while delightful of course, wouldn't necessarily be cause for celebration nine years later. In this particular case though I'm not only celebrating the original cajolery (my word of the day - if you're interested), but also the fact that I've managed to keep him hanging around since then. I have very little understanding of exactly how I've managed to do this, but here we are anyway.

It's a strange feeling because I'm pretty certain that nine years ago I was only about ten years old so I definitely should not have been out in nightclubs chatting boys up. Of course, I'm fooling myself because if that were the case I'd only be nineteen now and actually I'm twenty-seven. Clearly there is a huge chunk of my life that I've just lost. Where did it go? I genuinely can't remember. It's terrifying. When I try to piece together those missing nine years, I realise that most of my memories involve him in some way or another, even when he wasn't even part of the original event.

It's also a pretty strange realisation that I have spent more years of my life dating someone than I spent at high school. It makes me feel like a real grown up which isn't a feeling I'm generally accustomed to. To counterbalance this horrendous realisation that I'm officially old, I thought about spending this evening drinking lots of cider and pretending that I'm fifteen again but then I realised that I am definitely as old as it says on the tin and all I really desire is a nice meal and an early night. Luckily, the other half seems to want the same things from life these days so that should all go to plan.

Anyway, whichever version of the story you believe, nine years ago tonight I met a boy with blonde hair and baggy, ripped jeans. He was warned that I was trouble by a kind friend of mine and he wilfully ignored this useful advice. More bloody fool him. I suspect that I probably have been trouble a lot of the time but I also like to imagine that I've been quite a bit of good fun too. At least, I hope he's had as much fun as I have.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Dead Poets Society - an appreciation

I'd never seen this film before but I am a 90's child after all, and therefore a fan of the late Robin Williams. I'm more accustomed to seeing him dressed as a woman or voicing a blue genie so this film was something a little different but I had heard a lot about it so decided to give it a go last week.

There's a strange thing I do whenever I watch a film or television series that I enjoy. I relentlessly google all the actors and scan wikipedia for the story of how the film came to be. Maybe I'm just a bit nosy but also it's quite useful because I do have a lot of irrelevant information to hand should you ever need it. I did this exact thing after watching Dead Poets Society so it should be clear that I really liked the film and as an added bonus now I know exactly what the career path of all the actors involved in the film has been since. Also, spouses, children and any scandal. I know all that too. Thankfully I only wasted about an hour of my life on that, so I'm chalking that up as time spent productively.

For anyone who hasn't seen the film, I don't think I'm ruining anything here by telling you that the phrase 'O Captain, My Captain' from a poem written by Walt Whitman features pretty prominently in the film. As does this quote from John Keating (Robin Williams) referencing Whitman again.

 That you are here - that life exists and identity,
 That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

What will your verse be?''

Now, I'd heard of Walt Whitman before because, erm hello, he plays a pretty crucial role in Breaking Bad (W.W - Walt Whitman or Walter White) and also there's some mention of him in the Notebook. I'm displaying exactly how highbrow my tastes are here aren't I? So this third mention of Whitman was enough for me to do a little search on Pinterest and discovered that there were very many poignant quotes attributed to his name and if there's one thing I adore, it's a good quote.

In short, I've discovered a new favourite poet and I recommend that if you haven't before, you should watch Dead Poets Society and you should definitely read a Whitman poem. You can find the Leaves of Grass here .

I've only made my way through some of them but I liked this one a lot. I can't figure out how to make it sit properly on the page and I don't have the inclination to waste much of my time on it so apologies for that.

I Sit and Look Out

  I sit and look out upon all the sorrows of the world, and upon all
      oppression and shame,
  I hear secret convulsive sobs from young men at anguish with
      themselves, remorseful after deeds done,
  I see in low life the mother misused by her children, dying,
      neglected, gaunt, desperate,
  I see the wife misused by her husband, I see the treacherous seducer
      of young women,
  I mark the ranklings of jealousy and unrequited love attempted to be
      hid, I see these sights on the earth,
  I see the workings of battle, pestilence, tyranny, I see martyrs and
  I observe a famine at sea, I observe the sailors casting lots who
      shall be kill'd to preserve the lives of the rest,
  I observe the slights and degradations cast by arrogant persons upon
      laborers, the poor, and upon negroes, and the like;
  All these—all the meanness and agony without end I sitting look out upon,
  See, hear, and am silent.