Friday 31 May 2013

I Remember

So here we are, at the end of the month and at the end of the Blog Every Day In May challenge.  What a month it's been!

Day 31, Friday: A vivid memory

Some of you will already know how much I like thinking about memories (take a look back at my I, J, and Q entries for the A-Z Challenge).

But, I never seem to remember whole days or whole events.  My mind keeps hold of snippets of little things.  It's as though my head is one giant photo album - you know, like from back in the olden days when we used to take pictures with a camera that contained film, then took the film to be developed, and after a few days we had paper copies to remind us of our special occasions.

Anyway, enough of me showing my age.  Because of my inability to relate whole stories of times past, I'm going to share with you some vivid memory snippets.
  1. I remember when I was about 4 years old and I was sitting behind the counter in my parents' corner shop during the day.  A grumpy old woman asked me why I wasn't at school.  I explained to her that I was too young to go to school.  She then told me that I must be old enough to go to school because I was so tall.
  2. I remember going to play group at the community centre.  We had loads of toys to play with but my favourites were a little red tricycle and the trampoline.  One day I wanted to play with both of them so I held the handlebars of the trike in one hand while bouncing around on the trampoline.
  3. I remember going to see Jurassic Park at the cinema.  I fell asleep.
  4. I remember going to see King Lear at The Barbican.  I fell asleep.
  5. I remember the day I passed my driving test.  I had to do an emergency stop, turn in the road, and reverse park.  I'd gone to Cambridge to see Placebo with my mum two days before.
  6. I remember when my hairdresser cut and dyed my hair for a hairdressing competition.  My school boyfriend dumped me because he didn't like it.
  7. I remember the day I got my lip pierced.  The woman numbed my lip with a banana flavour liquid, but it numbed my gums, tongue, and the rest of the inside of my mouth.  It was totally worth it though.
  8. I remember the day I went to London with my dad to the Doc Marten's shop in Covent Garden.  I bought a flowery pair of boots.  We then went to The Trocadero so that I could see the filming at the Nickleodeon studio, but I was too scared to go up and have a look.
  9. I remember climbing up on a chair, opening the fridge door, and dropping all the eggs onto the kitchen floor.
  10. I remember my first alcoholic drink.  It was an alchopop called Metz.  It made me sick.

LLBG - May

Sorry for the delay in posting this, but I've had a busy week at work, and have only just found some time to get my blogging done.  Anyway, on Tuesday evening, Lowestoft Library Book Group met for it's May session, where we discussed Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

There there's this unwritten list of 'classics' floating around, and we all know we should have read those books but never have.  Pride and Prejudice is one of those books.  I've never read it before.  I haven't even seen the film(s).  I know I should have at least watched the one with Colin Firth/Mr. Darcy in the pond/lake/whatever-it-is, but it never really appealed to me.

So I started to read the book, and I tried, I really tried to get through the chapters, but I just couldn't.  I know it's a classic, but it really is dull.  And yes, I know it is 'of the time' and it reflects a certain society and all that goes along with that.  But it's still dull.

What shall we do today?  I know, let's do some sewing, then some swooning, then get ready for a ball so we can meet handsome men.  And what do you fancy doing tomorrow?  Tomorrow is quite a busy day for me.  First I'm sewing, then I'm swooning, then I have to get ready for a ball so I can meet some handsome men.

Please forgive me if more happens in this story, but I only got to page 144 before I had to give up.  The words were going into my eyes but they weren't making their way to my brain.

I'm not too sure if other people enjoyed the book or not because I'd been at work from 10:30 until 7pm, and then Book Group was from 7pm until 9pm, so I was a bit tired.  It's a good job that I work in the library and didn't have to panic about being late!

Our next meeting is on Tuesday 25th June, 7-9 pm, and we will be discussing The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Marry Ann Shaffer.  I read this book a few years ago and enjoyed it, so I'm looking forward to reading it again.

The Sun Is Shining

It's Friday and it's a great time to look over the past week and Celebrate The Small Things.

This week has gone pretty quickly, but there are still a lot of things to celebrate.
  • I'm still enjoying my job.  I know I keep harping on about it, but it has been such a long time since I've actually liked going to work!  I'm still tired, but that doesn't bother me.  And today is my first payday in a very long time, so that's certainly something to shout about!!
  • Being at work means that I don't get to spend as much time with my dog as I would like, but she is so pleased to see me when I get home, I can't help but look forward to opening my front door at the end of the day and be greeted by an excited ball of energy.
  • My parents are so great for looking after my dog while I'm at work.  They've been taking her on long walks around the fields and along the beach (which she loves), so I have to continually thank them for being there and helping me out.
  • Our book group met on Tuesday evening.  I really like going to that group as we've read books that I wouldn't normally pick up, and I've enjoyed quite a lot of them.  Of course there have been some books that I've wished I hadn't read, but you can't please everyone.  This past month we read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.  I have to say that I didn't read it all.  In fact, I only read 144 pages.  I just couldn't get into it.  Nothing gripped me, and I ended up just reading the words and not taking in any of the story.  At our next meeting we will be discussing The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer.  I read this book a few years ago and enjoyed it, so I'm looking forward to reading it again.
  • Working in the library is also a great opportunity to have first peek at the 'removed from stock' books for sale.  I managed to pick up 6 books for a mere 90p this week, and some of the books look like they haven't even been opened.
  • The weather today is absolutely beautiful.  It seemed like we weren't going to have any sunshine, but it's out in full force today.  It's still a bit breezy down at the beach, but the sun is out so that can only be a good thing.

What are you celebrating this week?

Thursday 30 May 2013

Up Up And Away

Today is the penultimate day for the Blog Every Day In May blog-hop challenge.

Day 30, Thursday: React to this term: Letting Go

I wasn't sure how to react to this prompt, then it hit me as I was walking to my car after finishing work today.  Here is my first piece of fiction for the Blog Every Day In May challenge.


She sits on the beach and stares out across the sea.  Her hand reaches inside her bag and her fingers find the little plastic packet.  She waits a moment before gripping the packet in her fist and moving it from the depths of her bag into her lap.  A fingernail pierces the plastic and her fingers stretch open the hole.  She looks over the left shoulder, and then over her right.  The beach is empty.

She takes a red balloon out of the bag and brings it to her lips.  She blows out every angry thought she's ever had, every angry action she's ever committed, every angry word she's ever said.  The balloon expands, and she ties a knot in the end to keep the anger from escaping.

She takes an orange balloon out of the bag and brings it to her lips.  She blows out every lie she's ever told, every time she's ever cheated, every time she was ever deceitful.  The balloon expands, and she ties a knot in the end to keep the deceit from escaping.

She takes a yellow balloon out of the bag and brings it to her lips.  She blows out every happy thought she's ever had at someone else's expense, every time she's laughed when someone else has cried, every time she felt satisfied when someone else failed.  The balloon expands, and she ties a knot in the end to keep the malicious joy from escaping.

She takes a green balloon out of the bag and brings it to her lips.  She blows out every time she was jealous of someone else, every time she wish she had what someone else had, every time she wished she was someone else.  The balloon expands, and she ties a knot in the end to keep the envy from escaping.

She takes a blue balloon out of the bag and brings it to her lips.  She blows out every time she ever cried because of someone else's actions, every time she ever cried because of her own actions.  The balloon expands, and she ties a knot in the end to keep the sorry from escaping.

She takes a purple balloon out of the bag and brings it to her lips.  She blows out every time she was lazy, apathetic, nonchalant.  The balloon expands, and she ties a knot in the end to keep the indifference from escaping.

She scoops up the balloons and walks to the water's edge.  She takes a deep breath in and as she breathes out she opens her arms and lets the balloons float along the breeze and over the waves.

Wednesday 29 May 2013

Hit My Parade Up

Oh noes, we're nearing the end of the Blog Every Day In May blog-hop.  I'm going to miss it.

Day 29, Wednesday: Five songs or pieces of music that speak to you or bring back memories. Use Grooveshark or YouTube to include them in the post

This is going to be a toughie.  I love music.  It plays such a huge part in my life, so to choose just 5 songs takes some thinking about.  The following songs are in no particular order, and they're not my favourite songs.  They're just songs that bring back memories.

'You Can Call Me Al' by Paul Simon - This song reminds me of a Christmas many, many years ago.  I think Father Christmas had brought my dad Paul Simon's 'Graceland' album on cassette, and he was listening to it during Christmas Day.  I remember that Father Christmas had brought me a Lego kit where you used the bricks to build a cafe.  I also remember that I didn't actually build it; Dad did.  Every time I hear this song, I think of my dad sitting at the table, trying to decipher the picture instructions included with the Lego to try and build me a cafe to play with.

'Turn Out The Light' by The Music - I had a boyfriend a few years ago who loved the band The Music.  We used to listen to the CD together, and this was (is) my favourite song off that album.  This song always reminds me of him, and when he queued up at the signing tent at Reading Festival so that he could meet the band.

'Somebody Told Me' by The Killers - This song takes me back to when I was in my second year at university.  I was living in a house with two other girls, and we rotated bedrooms because one was extremely tiny, and the other two were of a reasonable size.  Instead of trying to work out the rent so that we paid more if we had a big room, and less if we had the small room, we just rotated so we had one term in each room.  I was in the small room at the time, and I was getting ready to go to a class or lecture, and Jo Whiley on Radio 1 said that she had a new song to play, by a new band, and she thought they were going to be big. I danced around my shoebox bedroom to this song, and then told everyone I knew about it, because I thought it was amazing.  Little did I know that The Killers were going to be such a huge success!!

'Agenda Suicide' by The Faint - Quite a few years ago, I went to a Placebo gig.  At the time, Placebo were one of my favourite bands.  I'd always liked (and I still like) watching the support bands, but I really wanted to see Placebo because, well, they are awesome!  The Faint were supporting, but I'd never heard of them.  And then they started playing, and wow!  They were amazing.  All I can really remember  is the keyboard player and his legs!  The top half of his body was still, so that he could play his keyboard, but his legs moved around like they were independent from his body.  They were like rubber, Stretch Armstrong limbs, dancing about all over the place.  After that performance, The Faint became one of my favourite bands.

'Mountains' by Biffy Clyro - A few years ago, I went on holiday to Dublin with a friend.  As we were walking around one day, we passed a venue that was advertising a Biffy Clyro gig that evening, but (obviously) tickets were sold out.  We couldn't believe it as the venue was only a short walk away from our hostel.  If only we'd known about it before we went; we could have bought tickets!!  I've never seen 'The Biff' so I was gutted.  Forlornly we went back to our hostel and sadly sang along to their songs, knowing the real thing was being played just down the road.

Tuesday 28 May 2013

Kessingland By Pictures

I can see the finishing line.  It's only a few days away, so only a few more Blogs Every Day In May.

Day 28, Tuesday: Only pictures

Monday 27 May 2013

Fanks, Fank You Readers

We're in the home straight now, but we're not at the end.  So here I go, carrying on, Blogging Every Day In May.

Day 27, Monday: A letter to your readers

Dear Readers,

Thank you.  I can't say much more than that (but I'll give it a go).  When I started blogging, I didn't really know what I was doing.  To be honest, I still don't.  I write about things, nothing special, and I never expected anyone to read my ramblings, but it appears that you do.  I check my stats on a daily basis, and I get about 200 hits each day.  That blows my mind.  Knowing that people look at my blog is an amazing feeling.  I don't even care if they read it or not.  The fact that they look is good enough.  But you do read it, don't you?  You read what I write and you comment on it.  You don't have to, but you do.  You could just stop by, have a browse, and then get on with your life.  But you don't.  You read and you write to me.  It is such a great feeling knowing that people I've never met have made contact with me and are interested by what I do.

So again, thank you.  Without you I would be writing to thin air.


Sunday 26 May 2013

Bad Grammer Hurt's My Eye's

Lily is my dog, and she dogs every day in May.  In fact, she dogs every day, full stop.  I am not a dog, therefore I cannnot dog, but I can Blog Every Day In May.

Day 26, Sunday: Something you read online. Leave a link and discuss, if you'd like.

As you should know by now, I love grammar (and spelling and punctuation).  Not just any grammar (and spelling and punctuation), but correct grammar (and spelling and punctuation).  If it's not correct, it has no place in my ears and eyes.  

I know I'm not perfect, but I have a grasp of the basics.  I mean, I am English so I should know how to use my mother tongue, right?!  I often want to throw my computer out of the window when I see facebook statuses made up of a jumbled mixture of letters and numbers.  Once I've deciphered the code, I tend to be disappointed with the content as it's normally about what someone has eaten for dinner.  And then there are those sentences which contain absolutely no punctuation so you dont know when one bit starts and another bit ends i have no idea how people can write like that without taking a mental breath im finding it so difficult to write this and its only a couple of lines long there is no way i could go through my whole life without a few commas full stops and semicolons in my pocket for emergencies.  Don't even get me started on your/you're and their/there/they're ...


My friends know how much this bothers me, and will often send me articles about the subject.  A few weeks ago I noticed this article being shared on facebook.

Apostrophe now: Bad grammar and the people who hate it

Schools are bringing in new grammar tests for children, but there are people who say that this isn't necessary as the children are too young.  I don't think children are too young to learn anything, and grammar is such a huge part of education.  If you can't communicate, how do you expect to get anywhere in life?

I know language has changed over the years, and we aren't bound by such strict rules as our parents and grandparents were, but we do have to draw the line somewhere.  Some things are right and some things are wrong, and if children can be taught and corrected, then I'm behind it one hundred percent.  My parents would have been so embarrassed and ashamed if I'd written with such a lack of respect for the English language as so many young people nowadays do. (However, I would have used an Oxford comma here, but that's just me)

The article also makes note of people who use internet dating sites, and that bad grammar is a turn off.  I am part of the internet dating generation and I have read some unbelievably badly written profiles.  If you can't construct a sentence, I'm afraid I won't give you the time of day.  Call me harsh, but if you can't take grammar seriously, I can't trust you to take anything else seriously.

It took me a long while to understand that two negatives equalled a positive, but my dad ensured that he drummed the rule into me, and whenever I said, "I haven't done nothing," he would correct me and tell me why I was wrong.  Parents don't, and some even can't, correct their children because they don't know the rules themselves.  Bring these tests into schools.  Teach the children how to communicate.  Encourage them to be eloquent.  Show them the wonders of language and how they can use it to create something beautiful.

I'll just sit here and wait for someone to come along and correct my grammar ...

Saturday 25 May 2013

Do It Like A Brothah, Do It Like A Dude

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, I mean, just keep Blogging Every Day In May.

Day 25, Saturday: Something someone told you about yourself that you'll never forget (good or bad)

I've kind of put this one off because I don't really like thinking about it.  Now, before I start this post I need to make it clear that I'm not a (particularly) vain person.  I've never been a girl interested in hair products and make-up.  My mum taught me from a young age to know that "me" isn't what I look like; "me" is who I am on the inside.  And as I've grown up, I've spent time working on my character and personality to ensure that I'm a nice person, rather than ensuring that I'm a nice-looking person by focussing on my appearance.  I remember girls at school whose bags were full of cosmetics and they would spend their lunchtimes in the toilets, staring at themselves in the mirror, whereas my bag was full of books and I would spend my lunchtimes in the library.

Anyway, as we all know, puberty is a tough time.  Our bodies are changing and we're trying to work out who we are, plus we have so many pressures at school with exams.  It's surprising that our heads don't explode!

So, to the point of this post (and I am struggling to let the words out), at school a lot of people told me that I looked like a boy.  This might not seem like a big deal to some people, but it really knocked my confidence (not that I had much to start with).  When you're having to deal with erratic hormones and growing pains, you don't really need people telling you that you don't look like what you should look like.

Back to my point about not being vain.  Obviously I keep myself clean and I wear clothes that I like, but I don't let my appearance define me.  So the fact that people were negative about how I looked shouldn't bother me.  But it was hurtful and something I've never forgotten, I guess because it all came at a confusing time of life.  To be honest, I would rather have them tell me that I was an ugly girl, than to say that I looked like a boy.  

However, I would be quite happy to look like a boy Beyonce!

Friday 24 May 2013

Bad, Worse, Worst

I can't believe we're nearly at the end of this challenge.  What am I going to do with myself in June?!  But as we're still in May, I will carry on Blogging Every Day.

Day 24, Friday: Your top 3 worst traits

Hmm, this is a tricky one.  Mainly because I'm perfect!  Ha!  Only joking.  I'm far from perfect.  This is a tricky one because there are far too many bad traits to choose from!

  1. I always have to be right.  I can't help it.  I really don't like being wrong about anything.  And even on the very few occasions when I'm wrong, I will argue that I'm right.  I also don't like to lose, because that's almost admitting that I'm wrong.  And I can't do that!

  2. I'm an angry person.  I don't like being angry, but so many things make me angry.  Don't worry, I'm not going to rant about anything, because I will wind myself up, and then I'll get angry.  I know I shouldn't let things get to me, but sometimes ... *grr*.  I'm a lot better at handling myself than I used to be.  I used to make myself ill with my anger.  I still get angry, but I don't react as badly as I used to.

  3. I procrastinate.  I avoid doing what I should be doing by doing something else, or by doing nothing.  I try to convince myself that I'm not lazy, but I am.  I can quite happily sit in front of the television all day.  But I know it's not healthy so I force myself to do things.  And then I avoid doing those things, and do something else!  I think that's why I'm so happy to have challenges like this to keep myself occupied, and to encourage me to do something productive!  And as I don't like to lost, I have to make sure I do post every day!

Satisfied Tired

It's F-F-F-Friiiidaaaaay, and it's the time where we look back over the past week and Celebrate The Small Things that have taken place.

Again, this week I am shattered, so it's just bullet points.  But, even though I'm tired, it's a good tired!
  • I'm still loving my job.  I can't believe it.  It's been so long since I've had a job that I've looked forward to.  My body is still getting used to it, and that's why I'm so tired.  But I'm not grumpy tired.  I'm satisfied tired.
  • I was on the radio earlier this week.  I know a local author (Terry Tarbox) and he reads his stories on Blyth Valley Radio.  A few weeks ago he asked me if I wanted to read my stories on the radio too.  Well, I couldn't say no, could I!?  I was very nervous, but I knew it would be a great way of promoting myself and introducing my work to a different audience.  They've asked me to go back, which is a huge boost to my confidence!
  • A little while ago I made the suggestion to hold a literary festival at the library, and we had our first meeting about it on Thursday.  Everyone came along with so many ideas, and they were all so excited and willing to do what they could to get the ball rolling with organising everything.  We're hoping to hold it in September, so we've got a lot to do and not long to do it in.  But we can do it!!
  • And again, I have to celebrate my parents for taking care of Lily while I've been at work, and at meetings, and on the radio.  I don't like leaving her, but I know she's in good hands with my parents, and they're a great help.
What are you celebrating this week?

Thursday 23 May 2013

Life Lessons

It's still May, I believe, so I'm still Blogging Every Day (In May).

Day 23, Thursday: Things you've learned that school won't teach you

I'm afraid that it's going to have to be a quick one today.  I've pretty much just got home from work, and I've got to go back in half an hour for a meeting.

So, school taught me a lot.  Apart from the academic side of things, I learnt that people are selfish, rude, unfair, and a bunch of other negative things (I didn't have a good time at school, can you tell!?!)

Outisde of school, I learnt how to ...
  • drive
  • knit
  • sew
  • bake
  • cook
  • fix a seemingly broken piece of technology
  • write (poetry/stories)
  • have my heart broken
  • break someone's heart
  • get back up after falling down
  • have fun

Wednesday 22 May 2013

Dog Do, Dog Don't

Day 22, Wednesday: Rant about something. Get up on your soapbox and tell us how you really feel. (a pet peeve, a current event, a controversial topic, something your husband or roommate or neighbour or boss does that really ticks you off)

Warning:  If you're a bit squeamish, it's probably best that you don't read this post!

On to business.  There are a few things that get me angry, like bad drivers, bad parents, bad teachers, bad children (can you see a pattern here?).  But since getting a dog, the one thing that gets up my nose - bad dog owners.  I don't understand why anyone would get a dog, but then not take responsibility for it.  My main gripe with dog owners, are the ones who think it's ok for their dog to do their toilets and then just leave it there for anyone to stand in.

I live near the beach, and I take my dog, Lily, for a long walk down there every lunch time.  It's great because we're far enough away from the road for her to run around off her lead.  She loves being able to zoom off in all directions, exploring.  And of course, I have to zoom off after her to make sure she doesn't get up to any mischief.  On many occasions I've been having fun, playing with my dog, only to find when I get home, that the soles of my shoes are all stinky.

A few years ago I wrote an article for a local paper about the amount of dog poo all over the place.  On one walk with Lily, I took pictures of a number of poos, many of which were situated within walking distance of a public bin.

There is absolutely no excuse for it.  When I take Lily out, I make sure I have a pocket full of nappy bags.  I buy them from the supermarket for something like 12p for 100 bags.  It doesn't break the bank.  Considering that when you get a dog, you have to pay a fortune for dog food, treats, toys, vet visits, surely 12p for a pack of poo bags shouldn't be too much of a problem, right?!

Often, I would see poo put into poo bags, but the poo bags would just be left on the beach.  This then got me thinking about the number of public bins around the village.  Again, on the same walk where I took the poo pictures, I took a picture of every bin that we passed.

I hadn't counted before, but on a journey of about a mile, there are 15 bins.  Why, oh why, do people throw full bags of poo onto the ground, rather than putting them in a bin?  And if they can't find a bin while out on their walk, surely they have a bin at home?

The council put up signs asking people to pick up their dog's poo.  I don't see why the council had to waste money on producing those signs, because any reasonable human being would clear up their mess so that no-one else falls over in it, or stands in it.

I get so angry that people need to be told to do something that they should automatically do.  I pretty much stand behind Lily, bag in hand, every time she crouches, so I can make sure I pick up everything and then throw it away.  When I first got Lily, the idea of poop-a-scooping made me feel a bit sick, and I would always cover the offending item in kitchen paper before picking it up with a bag.  Now it's second nature to me.  I doesn't bother me, as I know it's my job as a pet parent to clean up after my animal.  

Why do people have to be so selfish?  How would they feel if they ruined a pair of shoes because someone else couldn't be bothered to pick up their dog's poo?  Sometimes I can't even find the words to express how angry this makes me.  Mainly because I don't understand why people leave such a mess everywhere.  Not only is it common sense to clear up, it's also polite, civil, kind, and a bunch of other 'nice' words.  But then I guess you can't be a very nice person if you think it's ok to leave such a horrible mess all over the place.

This is the article I wrote.  I don't know if you'll be able to read it, but it's full of my anger and disgust at the immoral behaviour of many dog walkers/owners.

And every time I see a little doggy pile on my travels, I can't help but sing this song in my head!

Ok, rant over!